The Penny

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

[Wednesday, October 20, 2010]

Yay, She's Oral!

Sometimes I wonder how much my students with CIs hear--or more like how much they miss. One student that I like to call "Glued-To-Me" showed me recently how much guesswork she's doing on a daily basis.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading (over several days) the Knuffle Bunny trilogy. I highly recommend these books, if you have not read them. In the first book, toddler Trixie and her daddy, who live in Manhattan, take their clothes to the laundromat, where they (gasp!) lose Trixie's stuffed bunny. The TOD and I spent some time discussing laundry and explaining what a laundromat is. We showed the children pictures, sequenced the process of doing laundry... I thought Favorite, Obsessed, and Oblivious had it, but Glued? You just never know. So I'm reading the book (using a combination of ASL, spoken English, and Sim-Com), and I got to the part where they go to the laundromat and load the washing machines. I asked the children, "Where did they go?" Favorite answered right away, signing "Laundry store," which was what I had dubbed the laundromat. Oblivious spoke, "Laundry." Close enough. I made Obsessed imitate my signs: "Laundry store" (she's not really a fan of communication). Glued's turn. Yes, she had seen/heard the answer three times (after I said it to begin with). I always ask her last, to give her a fighting chance at getting the right answer. Or at least close. And what, you must wonder, was her answer?

She signed and spoke... "Math."

Technically, she signed Math and spoke Mat. She can't say "th."

I guess you could confuse laundromat and math... if you completely ignored all the signing... sigh.

Today, we discussed Halloween, practicing describing words, such as, "scary ghost," "orange pumpkin," "furry bat." The kids were really into it. Every time you say the word Halloween, Glued says, "Hae-uh Tae-uh." Hannah Montana. Her costume. "This month is October. Soon it will be Hallo--" "Hae-uh Tae-uh." It's kind of cute how excited she is to be Hannah Montana.

So we used this simple book, Boo Who?, to work on the describing and on answering "who" questions... TOD took notes. The kids LOVE this, because she writes down what they say. As always, I did the reading, using both languages (sim-com or consecutively). After the book, I was describing things and having them look on the board (or use their brains!) to figure out what I was talking about. "It's white and scary. It says boo! It can fly." Glued said, "Gote!" I turned to her to correct her articulation, only to see that she had signed it as well... and her little V hand was on her forehead.

She was saying goat. Not mispronouncing ghost. Goat.

I would think that she would wonder how goats fit into Halloween, but I suppose there's so much she doesn't understand that she's used to things not making sense.

I like CIs, because the kids like them. Oblivious was heartbroken and became practically catatonic the day he broke his in PE. He cannot handle silence. Laynie loves her CIs, doesn't go a day without them--even though she is and always will be primarily an ASL user.

But it worries me when parents have their kids rely only on the cochlear implants for language development, because they are NOT like hearing people's hearing. Many kids do very well, but there will always be things they miss, and I hate to see guesswork involved in education. And yes, I suppose that there is more going on with Glued than just deafness... most deaf kids would at least pick up on the signs. She's just so used to relying on her hearing, because that's what she did as a toddler and preschooler (family only signs when her CIs are off, preschool program was TC but heavy on talking). Plus, she's mainstreamed nearly all day. Although there is an interpreter around, I think very little of what the interpreter says is comprehensible to her--too advanced, trying to meet Obsessed and Favorite's needs, and their language is a couple of years ahead of Glued's. Glued is definitely more attuned to her hearing than her vision for language. And now for education. But her hearing is not cutting it!

I will say what I've said in the past: Deaf kids need ASL.

{stepping off my soapbox}

Now that I'm off my soapbox, I want to write an addendum entitled "Good Things about Glued."
-She is very responsible. If she knows what to do or where to go, she is all over it.
-She is always happy to see me, especially on Thursdays, when I come to her school just for the afternoon. I feel like a celebrity walking in, the way she exclaims "Haytee!!" and nearly hyperventilates. (My name is Hasting, in case you couldn't tell. ;)
-She becomes beside herself with excitement when we both have a ponytail on the same day.
-She feels guilty when she answers wrong (I don't know if this is good so much as endearing).
-She wants to mother the other kids, especially Oblivious. She can often be found herding him to where he ought to be. Or waving at us and pointing to him, wrinkling up her nose. "Mammin no wur." [Name] no work. Her artic is so bad, I'm not even worried you'd get his real name from that. Sigh.
-She has a decent moral compass for a 6-year-old (although she has been known to smack kids who don't follow her motherly directives... hehe).
-She loves to be helpful--passing out pencils is her specialty.
-She is understanding of Obsessed's moods, often shrugging and giving me a wry smile when Obsessed snaps at her.
-She always wants to hold my hand and sit in my lap. She is very direct about it, too, pointing at my legs and saying, "Ap," or threading her little fingers into mine. Unfortunately, I can't let her... but it's the thought that counts.
-She looks up to her big sister SO MUCH. Apparently, she will sit and do "homework" with Mom for hours, as long as sis (several years older) is doing hers.
-Her smile always brightens my day.


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