The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Monday, September 28, 2009]

What Can I Say?

There are so many things I want to blog about. With the perspective of blog=journal, I would love to be able to commit some of these thoughts to virtual paper. But I can't.

I can't talk about work problems. Unprofessional.

I can't talk about church problems. Inappropriate.

I can't talk about health problems. Disgusting.

What am I left with? Nonspecific positive stories about work or church. I guess that's OK, since I like to look on the bright side anyway. I try to be really careful what I say about my kiddos, because obviously I have to keep confidential things, well, confidential. It's just hard not to talk about these kids that I love. (Well, mostly love. A couple, not so much.) I do change the details about them, though. Luckily Laynie is fair game. And I do have my many opinions, which I enjoy expressing. Ha.

Well, here's something work-related that I wanted to mention. I was hanging out with some little friends at lunch, and I was asking a hearing child what her name sign was. The interpreter gave everyone in both inclusion kindergarten classes name signs, so that she would not have to spell all of their names. Unfortunately, I was not there when she gave them their name signs, and frankly, I'm still learning their English names. So I was asking this little girl's name sign and showing her some possibilities... "An M at your chin... An M on your chest (hm, that looks like "mission," nevermind)..." She sat there, thinking. One of my deaf friends got a little impatient with her (duh, how hard is it to remember your own name?) and signed WHICH??! with a facial expression that said, "I am communicating with a mentally challenged person." I love that kid. He is extremely intelligent, and he has a great sense of humor. He ended up helping the little hearing girl learn to fingerread her name. "M-*-*... That's you!"

Oh, I do want to talk about church. Alright, it was my class' turn to teach sharing time, and in our ward, that means teaching both Junior and Senior Primary. No lesson for my class yesterday. We had practiced our lesson and assigned roles last week (Circle, Diamond, and Rectangle were there), and we ran through it again yesterday during Junior Primary's opening exercises. Only Circle and Rectangle showed up. Square's grandma told me that he has been pretty sick, and Diamond's family often has other plans on Sundays. But Circle and Rectangle happily divided Diamond's and Square's duties between them. I was glad that Rectangle was so into teaching, because his behavior has been just horrible lately. Three weeks ago, his mother had to come into class and sharing time, and last week she had to come to sharing time with him again. In 10 years of working in Primary at a variety of levels, I have only called in a parent once before, and that was for an on-the-floor-screaming-and-kicking 5-year-old. Someone had sat in the chair she wanted. I say this to emphasize that Rectangle has been extremely difficult to deal with. And he's nine years old. Come on. Luckily, his mother and I are completely on the same page: she expects him to behave just like everyone else his age. "Well, he was good... good for Rectangle" is not good enough.

Soooo... yesterday. I had given each of them a copy of the lesson plan for sharing time, and they made notes and knew which questions they were supposed to ask, the instructions they were supposed to give, etc. During Junior Primary, Circle and Rectangle taught their hearts out. They did such a great job. They used "motherese" voices and brought their language down to what the little kids (Junior Primary is ages 3-7, but most of these kids were 3-5) could understand. They took to heart what I said about not telling a child that their answer is wrong, just encouraging them to think of more answers. They even tried to implement the classic Primary leader strategy of making off-topic or tangential answers right (e.g. "What has the prophet told us to do?" "Mommy." "The prophet does want you to listen to your mommy and do what she says."). While the little kids were drawing things that prophets and apostles have told us to do to strengthen our families, my two awesome kids went around encouraging them and trying to keep their drawings church-related. Some of our little brothers and sisters wanted to draw their favorite cartoon characters. Later, Rectangle sweetly encouraged them to use their drawings during Conference and to choose one thing to work on to help their family. Circle bore a strong testimony (completely uncoached) of the living prophet. All in all, it was a cohesive lesson, with great teamwork between the three of us. As we got going, the Primary president's jaw was on the floor. I had told her that I always have my class teach with me when it's my turn to do sharing time, but she thought I would just give the kids a couple of token duties. Nope. Nine year olds can handle more than we sometimes think. By the way, Circle is the Primary president's daughter.

Funny, during Senior Primary, things were different. The energy level was not there. I think it is harder to teach your peers.. and some of those kids are older than mine, which might have made them nervous. I had to provide more support for that lesson. But I know that they did their best, and I am so proud of them. I wonder if I should give Rectangle a role in teaching the lesson in class every week. But I don't know that it would work every week. Maybe I should have a pow-wow with his mom on that. Ohhhh... I could have a lesson partner every week. I know that Circle would love to help, the boys would enjoy having a leadership role (because let's be honest, the reason Rectangle was so good during sharing time yesterday was because he got to tell other people what to do rather than the other way around: during singing time, he immediately reverted to his usual, noncompliant self), and Diamond is always up for anything. I don't know, I'll have to think it through.

Sorry this is so stream of consciousness.

Oh, I enjoyed the Relief Society Conference. Barbara Thompson is such a good speaker. Very natural delivery. That makes it easy to learn from her. And I like Sister Beck tons. Now I feel mildly guilty for not loving Sister Allred more. I find it difficult to concentrate on what she's saying, because I'm noticing how she devoices voiced consonants, releases stops in final position, etc (she's from Columbia, I think). I also go, gee, she used to put a /g/ before her /w/, and now she very effortfully puts an /h/ in front of it, Utah style (Hwhy do they do that?). Someone has been coaching her. Yes, unfortunately, my nerdiness takes over. But even Laynie noticed Sister Allred's speech. Laynie asked, "Is she saying her stop sounds with lots of air?" She was noticing those released final stops. Laynie loves to analyze what she hears, trying to figure out why some people sound differently than others. My nerdiness has rubbed off on her.

Speaking of Laynie, she still can't hear a darn thing. But then she hears the bed creaking in the apartment above us. Maybe she's not attending to what she hears. Yesterday, I was going to put on some music while we cleaned up the kitchen (we made Lion House rolls). I started up a Sunday playlist, and Laynie was asking me to turn it up, because she could barely hear it. I think the neighbors could hear it. So I told her that she would be able to hear it better if she turned off the dishwasher (our dishwasher is loud), and she said that she couldn't even hear the dishwasher. But she tried turning it off anyway, and she immediately went, whoa, the music is much louder now. I guess it's good that she's doing the "hearing" thing of filtering out unimportant stimuli, but maybe she's also filtering out important stimuli. I don't know. She does better in auditory training when I speak very close to her. Wish she had an FM. But I go back and forth on using an FM system during therapy. On the one hand, it's not representative of real-world contexts. The real world has background noise. You can't put an FM transmitter on every person that wants to speak to you. On the other hand, structured training using an FM system could help her learn what words sound like, and then her brain would be better able to "fill in the gaps" when background noise interferes with the signal. Amplification has been shown to increase progress with phonological therapy with hearing children (who have phonological speech disorders), and aural habilitation bears a striking resemblance to phonological therapy. The whole auditory discrimination of minimal pairs training thing. But an FM system is an awfully large financial investment to make when I'm not sure it would help. Hmmm... I do have a materials budget from my agency, which I could put toward an FM system (I would use it with other clients in the future, I'm sure), but that would still leave a sizable cost to cover. It's something to consider, anyway.

I was just going to stop, but I realized I have a little follow-up to my recent diatribe against Cochlear. I saw the Nucleus 5 quoted at 4 mm thick, with a weight of 10.9 grams. Med-El's Opus 2 is 3.7 mm thick and weighs 10.1 grams. This is with the lightest battery option for each. Cochlear continues to claim that the Nucleus 5 is the "smallest sound processor." Eh? Not that the Nucleus 5 is huge, like the Freedom was, but you can't say that it's the smallest when it's simply not.

OK, now I'm done.


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