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? = )

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