Saturday, June 25, 2011

Storytelling and Family
Some of the best stories come from family and sharing things that will be done and/or have been done. Research indicates that language develops best when children are continually exposed to stories and storytelling.  My son has always had both - whether it be the books we escaped into, the trips we took, or even listening to family tell one of those 'when I was your age' stories.  My son loved sitting for hours listening to his grandfather tell stories about growing up, being in the Army, and working in media.  He loved sitting for hours listening to his great-grandmother tell about leaving Poland and coming to the United States; listening to her friends recount their youth.  My family comes from a long line of family storytellers - and it shows when my son retells his version of stories!  How about you and your family?  Can your children tell a story? Act out? Recount with their version? Pretend and make up a new one?  What does your family talk about?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Observe and Wait and Listen

My favorite thing to do - observing and listening.  We should do more of it whenever possible.  Sometimes I think people are so interested in what they, personally have to say, not much listening is going on.  Sometimes children have a difficult time with this aspect of language.  So how, as a parent, do we help do this with our child?  It is one of the components to social interaction and one of the many facets of language - learn turn-taking in conversation; which means we wait our turn and listen to the other part of the conversation.

There is nothing more natural to a child than their parents voice; and of course, that natural environment of listening; especially as parents have conversation within the home setting.  There is nothing more natural than a parent reading to their child and the child is listening to all parts of speech, language, and behavior that make the story stand out! Of course, there is nothing  more inviting than home and being with mommy and daddy listening and hopefully then in turn, speaking - with parent guidance.  Notice I said listening first - because as I stated before; observe and listen.  In practice; the parent is creating an auditory learning environment and in return spoken language develops and continues to grow throughout the years.  I haven't strayed from anything besides a natural listening and speaking environment.  Parents just have to take hold of that opportunity and make it work for them - encouraging the child to participate, encouraging the child to imitate, encouraging the child to speak out on their own and upon their turn of conversation.

Reading and any activity that stimulates the child and their attention has the attention span growing and then; creativity and imagination takes hold.  Activities also support social, emotional growth.  But by far the biggest part of interaction in reading and activities, is from all this observing and waiting and listening - the child starts to talk!

Monday, June 20, 2011

OWL for Everyone

OWL - An animal in a tree or a barn and the kids love 'em.  They say Hoo Hoo!!  Uhhhh, yea but no. . . this is not the topic of this conversation.  OWL is an acronym that I try to remember for every encounter with a child that I have.  Observe - Wait - Listen
In a very visualized world, how do you get someones' attention quickly - you give them a visual and begin to talk about it.  Well, children need to develop those auditory skills faster than they do those visual skills.  A newborn does not focus well and or see color distinctions right away in their new world.  If all goes well, they do learn quickly that their new world is very noisy.  In fact, newborns know the OWL acronym perfectly - as much as possible.  The newborn is in the crib or in someones' arms, a noise enters the environment - baby attempts to observe; waits for noise again; listens intently and perhaps attempts to communicate with that noise.  How baby communicates is dependent on how noise entered their environment.
That being said, what happens if baby's hearing is compromised?  What happens if baby/child has had their auditory input compromised?  In other words, what happens when hearing is impaired?
Parents take over as the person that helps baby or child to learn to communicate with that noise, and they do this by OWL.  A noise; 'Hi there! How are you?!'  No response and parent and/or caregiver Observes; here comes the noise again 'Hi there!  (Name), how are you?!' (this time they add a sing-songy voice) No response and parent and/or caregiver Waits; then responds - 'Did you hear that?  Listen, I heard that - what did you say?!'
Well that is either a caregiver helping the child to respond because they were not listening or helping a child to respond because they could not listen and they needed help.  Either way is correct and the caregiver is using a teachable moment.  Auditory training takes place everyday no matter if your child has hearing and listening skills or a hearing impairment that is being developed with listening strategies.
My point will be expanded the next time I write - a lesson to propose using OWL for caregiver and child.
Either way - OWL can receive a 'HOO HOO' because your child got it or a 'HOO HOO' was that? = )

Friday, June 17, 2011

Did you know?

Did you know that all learning starts the minute you are born.  No, really! There is so much we take for granted, including the timing of learning.  Babies learn that the person cuddling them is 'the'  person.  The one that feeds them, changes them, and holds them close.  Babies learn that if they make some kind of noise they will get some kind of response.  Ahhhhh, there is something before that.  How do they know that to make a noise. . .gets a response?  Someone/something made noise while in the womb and the auditory nerve for those little ears formed so much earlier than you might imagine.  Noise happened every where, babies in the womb learned that motherly and fatherly voice.  Remember reading that in the mommy books!  So knowing if that baby passed their newborn screenings on all areas is important, and knowing that the baby hears you and responds in kind is just that much more important.  And last but not least, that auditory nerve which began so early in life, continues to grow and develop until age 13 to 15. Wow!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Books and Bloggers

I read this quote today; "Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book!  A message to us from . . . human souls we never saw.  And yet these arouse us, terrify us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers."
- Charles Kingsley

and then I thought, will people feel that way about bloggers some day?  Hmmmm, I have been curious about different blog sites, learned some things from different blog sites, and comforted by a picture or thought from a blog site. . . and yet, there are also those which make me think . . . I didn't want to know or see that! Hmmmmm

Here We Go Again. . . sort of!!

Two years and counting!!  I will try this again and this time it will be done right!! = )

I've begun the change. . . no! not that change!  Moving from one area of life and work - to another. . . I am officially a business; and through this blog spot - thoughts and sharing, I'm hoping learning will take place. 

My passion is teaching children.  Now my passion will take a side kick with blogging, then a website (in the works), and then sharing the practices of Listening and Spoken Language.  I am really looking forward to it and loving every minute of it!  Therapy, sharing with adults, and playing with language with the children.  The nice thing about it. . . it works!  Watching children learn and be pleased with the fact that they are learning is great!  Sharing ideas and strategies with parents is great as well! 

My biggest expectations are those ideas coming in from parents and others in the area of Speech and Language and seeing it shared, commented on, and growing.  The only way one expands their mind and ideals is to see through the eyes of another; contemplate, make it work for you and reap the benefits.  So. . . here we go!  Let's learn!