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November 18, 2007

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Sharon Campbell

You sound like the perfect Mom for a child with special needs! I was born with a moderate-severe hearing loss, got hearing aids at age 7 and am doing fine. I have my Master's degree in occupational safety and health and am a professional writer and speaker. Just wanted you to hear from someone who was there and turned out fine.

Instead of ASL, you might want to investigate cued speech. Cued speech lets the hands and postition of the fingers around the face clarify which of the identical-looking sounds was actually made. It is phonetic, which means that should Wonder Boy's hearing deteriorate later, he can use cued speech to easily learn foreign languages as well. Best of all, cued speech is so easy to learn that you can learn it in one intensive weekend, and become fluent in it in 6 months.

Deaf kids who grow up with cueing have normal English language skills and many easily learn foreign languages. The total vocabulary of the language is available to them, not the limited number of words available in sign.

You might want to check out some chapters of the Hearing Loss Association of America, and of Hands and Voices, a group for people who are parents of kids with hearing loss. They can help you with various issues you will encounter later.

And don't think that music education is out of Wonder Boy's reach, either. I've been playing various sizes of clarinets (the bigger, the better!) for 40 years now. Some hearing impaired kids can sing, but my folks listened to me sing along to the player piano and strongly suggested that I take up the clarinet!

Anna

Sharon, what's wrong with ASL if Wonderboy is thriving?

Philippa

My son has almost the exact same loss level as your son. He can't hear anything below 50decibel level and has about a 20 level with his aids. He was aided at 2 after diagnosis at 8 months. His is a genetic loss. He is 8 now and although it has been hard work, he is making good progress. One slightly difficult issue is that he does not pick up names incidentally in conversation. When he is in a group, we tend to get the group leader to play a name game to teach him the names of the group. This not only helps him but other members of the group.
Home education has been the best thing to happen to him!

Lauren S

Wow, your blog is the first time I've been able to understand my daughter's strange speech pattern. She has loss alsmost at the same level as your son's. She got ear tubes yesterday. I don't know if they will make a difference for her speech or not. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but we will deal with whatever comes our way. Thank you for finally explaining why she says "Ah-EEE and Ahm-Pa" instead of Daddy and Grandpa.

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