Monthly Archives: April 2012
Just recently while doing a guest spot for Lipreading Mom’s blog, I got asked a few questions about coping and communication methods with my children. Since they are grown now (the youngest is 17) I had to think back to the early days when my Meniere’s was full-blown, my hearing took a turn for the worst and I didn’t want to lose out on any part of their lives or the ability to dialogue with them. How was I going to cope?
It seemed like such a long time ago that I was thrust into the world of hearing loss, I hadn’t realized just how much time and effort had been put into simply surviving as a family. Back then there was not the advancement of technology that there is today. In 1999 for example, when I got my first Blackberry there was no phone option, just a simple text pager. No surfing, no SMS, no Facebook or Twitter just simple text on-screen with the ability to reply. It was a great way to be able to communicate back and forth if family members needed me but it was also very expensive. Many Deaf and hard of hearing folks just started to get in on email and still relied on their TTY’s and could not afford to get hooked up with RIM.
I relied on my creativity to get us through. I couldn’t afford to fully outfit my home with assistive devices or to shell out hundreds of dollars in sign language courses being offered at the local college. I made do with things I already had and purchased a few more things that I could afford. I got loads of tips and advice from my local Canadian Hearing Society, ordered a few CD’s, got a few books from the Internet. I hit the library for what few video’s they had for kids and sat down to make a plan.
Trouble was, there wasn’t really any way to make a plan. I had no idea where to begin. I made a list of what I thought were pressing needs at that moment but couldn’t seem to get it organized, so I sat the kids down and armed myself with a pad and paper. I let the older ones write down what they thought, what they didn’t like and what they thought might help. There was a lot of good ideas and they were happy to help.
We started with basics.
The neighbours already thought we must be horrible parents because of all the yelling back and forth so we made it a rule that if mommy was upstairs putting laundry away and she was needed, the kids were to turn the hall light on and off a few times to get her attention. Same with the basement if was I was putting in a load of laundry or unloading the kiln. There were reminders to not wander off when talking and go into another room, to tap me on the shoulder instead of yelling. It took a bit of practice but eventually they started to get the hang of it. I think it was easier on the 2 oldest and harder on the youngest.
We kept eye contact and spoke slower, tried to eliminate noises around us. The noises always seemed to get in the way. Sometimes they would write things down. I installed a flashing light for the telephone and one for the doorbell. I got a really loud alarm clock that also had a bed shaker on it. I didn’t want to be dependent on being told someone was at the door or on the phone. The specialist said that as i got older I would lose my hearing completely and the thought of the kids excluding me because I couldn’t hear was frightening. I put on videos for them to watch to give them some exposure to sign language and began to teach them the basics. The youngest child was receptive because she could not yet fully verbalise and the others thought it was neat but that soon wore off. It was a lot of work.
I photocopied black and white pictures from a sign language book for kids and let them color them in. I pasted the pictures onto construction paper and used plastic wrap and tape to keep them from getting dirty (I couldn’t afford to laminate them all). I went around the house with the kids and the pictures and one by one showed them the sign for things such as the “door”, and then taped the picture to it. We taped the picture of “tooth-brush” onto the bathroom mirror above the tooth brushes, “toy box” went above where the toys were kept, “bed” went on the wall beside the bed, “clothes” was stuck to the closet door, “dog” was put on the wall above the crate. The house looked kind of pretty and they started remembering signs! There was also a lot of fingerspelling 😦
I studied the sign language CD’s and learned new signs I didn’t know and taught them to the kids. I got involved with our deaf community and joined the deaf club. Many were really receptive and only too glad to help. They made gentle corrections to my grammar (LOL Anthony and Pola) and still laugh about the first time I signed “pleased to meet you” as “pleased to dessert you” because I was nervous. We had “Silent Sunday” which was when we would all gather round the table for sunday dinner and no talking was allowed. If you wanted the salt, you had to use your sign language to ask for it. The youngest loved that because she could out sign the older ones. Looking back I don’t think hubby minded the quiet at all LOL. I educated the kids every chance I got about hearing loss and communication and how important it was to me and why.
Then there was learning to lipread. I think that really helped me the most. I was disappointed to learn that only about 30 percent of speech can be read on the lips. The rest is practice, body language, common sense and more practice. It is also not true that all deaf or hard of hearing people know how to lipread. Some say lip-reading is a talent and not a skill and that it cannot be taught. I took one on one classes and walked around my house for months on end holding a mirror up and watching my mouth form sounds and words. I would turn down the TV and turn off the captioning and see if i could read what was being said on a persons lips. Let me tell you it is NOT an easy task. The letters B and P look the same, as do V and F. And what about C and T? Eventually if everyone slowed down a bit, and I watched their mouth and body language I could put most of what was being said together. Hubby had to lose the moustache. That was a milestone for me.
I believe in total communication, do whatever it takes, use whatever you have to, to speak and be heard! If you need to write things down? Do it. If you want to sign and speak? Do it! If you want to lipread? Do it! Do whatever it takes, whatever and where ever and when ever but most of all don’t forget to be creative. And your kids will have more awareness too.
Wow…. I just realized.
“We’ve come a long way baby…”
Happy Birthday to my Mom!
Just in case you havent heard!
1. Prevents flu and stomach upsets
2. Dissolves Kidney stones.
3. Helps reduce and prevent acne.
4. Adjusts the PH balance in your body
5. Relieves nausea
6. Helps relieve heartburn and GERD
7. Helps relieve asthma
8. relieves gout
9. Relieves allergies
10. Lowers blood sugar in diabetics
11. Breaks down body fat
12. Helps relieve migraines
13. Relieves sinus pressure and sinus headaches
14. Lowers blood pressure
15. Lowers cholesterol
16. Kills cancer cells or slows their growth
17. Reduces inflammation
18. Gets rid of buildup on the scalp
19. Reduces arthritis
20. Gets rid of toe nail fungus
21. Helps prevent brittle teeth
22. Prevents hair loss and runny noses
23. Helps create strong bones and teeth
Heres a nifty idea I discoverd on one of my web searches. You can read more about it here:
An easy to make lunchtime treat. i tried them and they are delicious!
Here is a cool recipe for a really good dish. Add sour cream to the side and its sort of like perogies without the dough.
And you have the makings for something really lovely. (Apricots, Grey Goose Vodka, a vanilla bean.)