Joy in the LSL Professional Journey

2016 is winding down and it’s a great time for families and professionals to reflect back on the last year of their LSL journeys. Members of our Hearing First Professional Learning Community shared some of their favorite joys they experienced this year, including breakthroughs and small victories. Read along for their joyful takeaways from 2016.

It’s the week before the new year and there are lots of moments to look back on from the past 51 weeks. There were highs, lows, memories made and lessons learned. One thing we’ve found to be true for both the professional and family LSL journey is that joy can be found in moments, both big and small, along the way. Take a look at what members of our Hearing First Professional Learning Community had to say about some of the joys they found in their journey this year.

Amy Birath, Audiologist

Moog Center for Deaf Education, St. Louis, MO

“We all have experienced or seen online the joy that comes from witnessing a child “hear” for the first time. It is exciting and emotional both for the family and for the service providers who have been on the journey with the family. This is a big moment that brings big joy.

However, in thinking about “Joy in the Journey,” it has been my experience that there are many more small moments of joy worth celebrating that sometimes get overlooked (or at least that aren’t videoed and posted on Facebook).  Some examples that come to mind are when a mother gets to a place of acceptance of her child’s hearing loss, when a grandmother finally is able to put her grandchild’s earmolds in correctly, and when a child’s father participates in a session for the first time. These are just a few of the small things that have happened this year in the lives of the families with whom I work, but there are many, many more. Being with families in these moments is how I find “Joy in the Journey.

If we try, we can find something to celebrate – something that brings joy – every day. I think it is important to recognize the small things, find joy in them, and help the families with whom we are on this journey do so as well.  It probably goes without saying, but is important to remember, the small things are big things too.”

Brandy DeMesme-Trosclair, Teacher of Deaf

Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children, San Antonio, TX

“Looking back on 2016, there were many breakthroughs and gains that I have witnessed as a professional that bring me joy, and a few of them truly stand out. One breakthrough was witnessing the power of a parent. Specifically, the moment when a parent realizes they have the right to choose whatever communication option they desire, that point where they learn they are the “captains of the ship.” It gave me great joy to see the transition of a family who initially walked in our doors with no idea what the next step would be when choosing the best way to give their child access to sound. They have now learned their power and have become their child’s first teacher and advocate. Another instance that will always bring me joy is a child’s first hearing day, no matter the response we get from the child. It is always a joyful occasion when the family has a true understanding of what we mean by having full access to sound; they learn that this is the most vital step towards their LSL journey. One more outstanding development I have witnessed this year is the professional camaraderie where I work. We have learned that we can consult each other as resources to serve families and further our education, such as tackling the LSL certification. It has been an absolute joy to know that I do not have to know everything and that I can rely on other professionals for help.”

Shana Lucius, Speech-Language Pathologist

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH

“There's nothing more rewarding than watching all the Auditory Verbal Therapy pay off for both the family and the professional. This year many of my "CI babies" with whom I started working with at 10 months went to mainstream Kindergarten in their home school districts with very little supports other than FM systems and a consultative teacher of the Hearing Impaired services. This is pure JOY! Another moment of joy I found this year was when a little boy I've been working with for AVT services finished the Columbus Marathon at Mile 26 with his parents. The event raised awareness for children with hearing loss and funds to support hearing aids for those who cannot afford them. Wow, so inspirational!”

Sylvia Rotfleisch, Audiologist

Private Practice/Hear to Talk, Los Angeles, CA

“This year, a family reached out to me for a second opinion and possible services for their almost 4-year-old who had been bilaterally implanted since age one. They felt strongly that there were issues with their child and that the professionals on their team were not in agreement. After some initial diagnostic sessions it was apparent that the child didn’t have access to the high frequency sounds that would be expected with cochlear implants and was not able to produce “sh” of “s”. This was both frightening and a relief to the parents who had a gut feeling that things weren’t right. Initially, it was a difficult issue to accept and then determine how to address. We have since worked together for a second opinion on mapping and remapping. The child has developed both of those phonemes and we are now able to work on the morphemic functions of “s” and have helped catch up the child’s auditory, speech and language skills. Also, a large amount of my joy comes from working with LSL families and sharing in their baby’s first word! Helping them to let go of the fear that their child would never speak is something I truly cherish.”

Parents, don’t think we forgot about you! We want to encourage you to celebrate your LSL journey with benchmarks and breakthroughs that your family has met this year. Take a look at our family-focused Joy in the Journey blog post for inspiration and key takeaways.