Talking is a Key to Connection

This week, we’re focused on guiding your child to use language to communicate their wants and needs. Read on to learn why talking is a key to connection!

Four score and seven years ago. Here’s looking at you kid. All you need is love. Can you hear me now? That’s one small step for man. Give me liberty or give me death. I do not like green eggs and ham. To be or not to be. I have a dream. Just keep swimming. Who’s on first? There’s no place like home. Words can be powerful… and some of the greatest moments in history were spoken aloud. Just imagine how the words you and your child will say out loud can make an impact in your family and the world around you… even echo through history!

At Hearing First, we are dedicated to powering children’s potential to enjoy all their talking moments in life. This month we’re celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month, part of a larger movement across the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This year’s theme is “Communication: The Key to Connection,” so we are highlighting the many ways you can help a child who is deaf or hard of hearing to succeed through communication.

The Importance of Talking

This week, we’re focused on guiding your child to use language to communicate their wants and needs. When a child who is deaf or hard of hearing is identified early enough, they can receive amplification through hearing technology and quality early intervention. Ultimately, this will lead to the amazing ability for your child to develop normal speech and vocal quality. They can be well understood by their friends, develop communication competence to verbalize with you, participate in the classroom, and engage in a wide range of activities. Best of all, your child will be able to communicate their wants, needs, and dreams!

Building Your Child’s Language

Before developing the ability to talk, a baby first develops the ability to understand what is being said. An early interventionist will use Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) to help guide you to use short, simple, familiar phrases during your daily, play, and social routines. Here are some of our top ways to build your child’s language through LSL:

  • Talk to your child, then pause and wait for a response.
  • Talk about what your child is doing and what you’re doing.
  • Read aloud to your child every day: encourage them to talk about the story and the pictures.
  • Keep conversations going by asking questions and commenting on your child’s response.
  • Sing songs and learn finger plays, action verses, and rhymes together.
  • Use new and interesting words daily, and give your child time to learn those new words.
  • Share in pretend-play activities acting out daily and play routines.
  • Foster thinking skills with statements like “I think ...” and open questions like “What do you think …” or “I wonder what will happen …”
  • Encourage your child to greet and get to know other children and adults.
  • Take your child with you to new places, such as the grocery store, library, car wash, and gas station.

Milestones of Success

With LSL, your child will begin to use words and phrases at the appropriate developmental milestones. A milestone is a skill a child usually learns at a certain age and in a specific order. For example, a child first learns to crawl and stand up before they learn to walk. In LSL intervention, milestones in all areas of child development – audition, speech, language, cognition, play, motor, social, and emotional – are used to help plan your child’s goals and activities. That way, your child will learn skills at the right times and in the right order to build one upon the other.

To be verbal will also help them to develop literacy skills that are on par with their hearing friends. Many parents using LSL strategies and techniques have a goal of a child reading at grade level by third grade, so they can move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” which allows a child to start grasping big ideas. The expectation is that your baby with hearing loss will reach the same developmental milestones in all areas of development just like their hearing friends.

On the Journey to Literacy

Want to look into the future? Are you wondering if your child with hearing loss can learn to read and write? The answer is yes! Your child can become a healthy reader using LSL.

As your child’s first teacher, you’ll use a variety of experiences to help them develop the building blocks for literacy, including vocabulary, print awareness, rhyming, sound structure, narrative development, reading aloud, writing, and spelling skills. Your LSL professionals can guide and coach you in what to expect from the literacy journey. In addition, you can take advantage of the many resources that have been developed by literacy and early childhood experts to incorporate simple activities into your daily routines to grow your baby’s brain.

By combining these literacy building blocks with the LSL strategies you’re learning, you’ll be able to grow your baby’s brain for a lifetime of reading and unlimited possibilities. Now that is a bright future indeed!

Join Our Community

No matter where you are on the journey, you can find power in community. Join the Hearing First Family Support Community today and connect, share, grow and learn with others on the LSL journey. And share your stories on social this month using hashtag #BHSM and mentioning @HearingFirst in your posts. We’re excited to celebrate better hearing and speech with you, today and everyday!