New Sparkly Stickers + Hearing Aid = Happy New Year!

                          





HAPPY NEW YEAR!    






I wish you all the best for the new year!

See you in 2011! 


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Deaf Patient Denied Interpreter at Hospital

Once again, a public establishment refused to provide an interpreter for a deaf individual. This time it is a Florida hospital. In response, this deaf patient filed a complaint against this hospital. Now they are trying to see if this hospital meets the "legal definition of a public establishment."

What?

How is a hospital not a public establishment? 

According to the Florida Civil Rights, discrimination is prohibited in "places determined to be public accommodations." Unfortunately, hospitals do not count as public accommodations under this civil rights act.

How about focusing on the rights of a human being? No one is talking about the fact that a human being was denied a right to communicate in his or her natural language.

I wonder of this hospital, in the past, denied Spanish translators to patients who speak primarily Spanish? If not, why would they deny a sign language interpreter for a deaf patient? Are they really that expensive and an inconvenience to society?

I can't imagine going to a hospital for some medical need and not fully understanding what everyone is saying and what is happening. Written communication isn't going to help the patient to be able to communicate effectively, in my opinion. At least through a sign language interpreter, you would get the information instantly and with ease.

I am confused about why there always seems to be a dilemma in hiring and using sign language interpreters in public establishments. I can understand why a private practice struggling to make money would deny interpreting services, but a hospital? 

As always, there are stupid and mean comments left in response to this article. Ugh, some people just don't understand.

Link to article:  http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/29/1991985/deaf-patient-files-complaint.html

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Funny & Weird Search Terms Associated With My Blog

I often look at Blogger's 'Stats', where I get information about how many people visit my blog and how they are directed to my site (search terms, traffic sources, other websites, etc.). I often come across peculiar and funny search terms people Googled which led them to this blog.
Here are some of them:
  • i like to chew on ear molds
  • am I stinky?
  • cockroach eating ear 
  • spanish huh?  
  • eh? in spanish
  • how can i tell I am being a jerk
  • jerks or clueless idiots
  • People who say eh are annoying
  • both parents deaf what happens to your baby
  • deaf people annoying of hearing people asked stupid question 
  • audiologists are greedy bastards  
  • i hate my teacher she is stinky and gross  
  • hearing aid fetish 
  • licking ear molds  
  • smelling ear mold wax
  • ear mouse 
  • it's christmas and my old lady hates me
If you are curious about what these random searches have to do with my site, type these searches in the search box at top of blog (Search This Blog) and see what posts they may lead you to.

My favorite is i hate my teacher she is stinky and gross. I hope it was not one of my students. 


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Related Post: 

My Unfortunate Introduction to "Sign Language"

I was six years old riding the school bus home one afternoon. I sat in the back with the older kids, a thirteen year old girl with curly blond hair and pink framed glasses and a boy of similar age with his dark hair neatly parted to the side. There were a few other kids on the bus, but I only remembered these two, because they were the "big kids."

The girl turned to me and said, "Now listen up. I am going to teach you sign language."

I sat up and leaned towards her. I was happy that she was talking to me; a little kindergartner nobody. I was interested in what she will show me.

"This means I love you," she said as she put her hand up and made the gesture. I had never seen it before. It looked really cool.

I put my little hand up and copied her hand shape. "Like this?" I asked.

"Perfect," she said breaking out in a big smile.

I was so proud of myself!

Meanwhile, the boy looked appalled. "No! Don't do that!" he exclaimed. He shook his head and looked at me with his pleading eyes, "It is a bad word!"

"Ah, don't listen to him! It is a nice word. He's just joking around," she assured me.

I believed her and squeaked, "I'll have to show my mommy!"

The girl laughed and adjusted her glasses, "Yes! She'll love it!" Then she started laughing again for some reason.

The boy continued shaking his head and muttered, "That is very bad."

Why should I listen to him anyway? He's a boy. Girls are supposed to be nice. He was probably jealous.

When we got to my stop, I hopped off the bus and ran up the driveway to my house. I was eager to show my mom this new sign! I ran into the side door into the kitchen where my mom was waiting for me. She smiled and asked how school was.

I yelled, "I have something to show you!"

Immediately I gave her the finger, waving it in her face. (Oh dear!)

My mom's smile immediately went away and she gasped. 

I kept giving her the finger proclaiming, "It means I love you!"

She left the kitchen in disgust.

Confused, I followed her asking, "What's wrong mom?"

My older sister who saw the whole thing, was in the other room snickering. When I found out what it meant, I was horrified. I couldn't believe I did that to my mother!! I never talked to that awful girl on the bus again.

I wasn't ready to be with the big kids yet.

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Hearing Aid Tube Moisture, How to Avoid It Or Get Rid Of It

Here is what a behind-the-ear hearing aid tube with moisture inside looks like:


See the water droplets inside? Not good. I remembered putting my hearing aid in right after the shower when I was running late for work. This is usually not a good idea if you want to avoid getting water on your hearing aid.

So I replaced this tube, it was time to change it anyway.

But, if your water droplet laden tube is not ready to be replaced and you want to get rid of the moisture, you can use one of these guys:

BULB SYRINGE 2 OZ
                                                                    Nasal aspirator or Bulb Syringe

You use it to blow out the moisture in the hearing aid tube. It works pretty well.

Otherwise to avoid getting moisture in your hearing aid and its tube, don't wear your hearing aid in the rain, when you go to the beach or the pool, hang out in the sauna, and when your hair or ears are wet; common sense stuff. 

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Sticky Notes Activity With Hard of Hearing Student

I have a hard of hearing student who works very hard on her language skills. We are always working on learning new vocabulary, everyday sayings, grammar, pronunciation, reading, writing, and such. She had a late start in learning language, but is rapidly catching up thanks to her hard work and her creativity.
 
One day I decided to let her lead the vocabulary learning activity in the beginning of our session.

First, we went over her new vocabulary words of the week that she will be focusing on and using in class. Usually, she likes to draw pictures or use pictures to help her understand the meaning of each word. She gestured towards the brightly colored Post-it Notes on the desk. After I encouraged her to use her words, she said, "I want the paper, please." I did not let her have some until she understood how most people actually call them Post-it Notes or sticky notes. She asked, "Can I have the sticky notes please?" So I gave her a few pads of yellow and pink sticky notes. She immediately started drawing pictures. The pictures represented some of the new words we went over. She labeled each drawing with the word it represent. She took the labeled drawings and put them in order, side by side, numbering them.

When she came across some words she had trouble remembering what they meant, I explained their meanings to her when she asked and then she drew new pictures and labeled them as well. She put all of the pictures side by side on the desk in front of her. Sometimes she asked me to help her draw some pictures. I did not say a word and waited for her instructions or to see what she will do next.

Once she was finished drawing and labeling the pictures, she said, "OK, you point to picture and I say sentence." I pointed to the picture of Santa riding his sleigh. Sleigh was the vocabulary word she needed to understand. She said, "Um, Santa ride the sleigh." I repeated what she said, "Santa ride the sleigh." She asked, "Ride or rides?" I said, "Rides." She said the sentence again, "Santa rides the sleigh." I gave her the thumbs up and smiled. We continued doing this for the remaining twenty minutes. She used her drawings as a guide. When she had trouble remembering the meaning of a word, she looked at her drawings.

I was amazed at how she came up with this activity on her own and how well it was working for her. I am always blown away at how creative she is! I learned that she is a good problem solver and is eager to try new things and to experiment. I am going to make more of an effort to encourage her to utilize these skills more often.

Towards the end of our session, I took over some and asked her to write some sentences using the new vocabulary in response to my questions. We then practiced using the new words saying them out loud in sentences. She would refer to her handy picture guide to help.




Because we share this room with other teachers, we were concerned about someone taking her sticky notes creation. She decided to make a note:


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Misdiagnosing Children With Hearing Loss

Some of you may have heard about how deaf and hard of hearing children have been misdiagnosed as having other disorders such as learning disabilities. Does this still happen? I would hope that today's diagnostic tools and assessments and knowledge of hearing loss has improved since a decade ago. From what I have read and heard, it seems as if misdiagnosing hearing loss for another disorder or disability was prevalent before and during the 1980s.

I sometimes wonder if some students of mine really have learning disorders or if it is a result of their hearing losses.

How do you properly assess a child with a hearing loss on whether or not they have a type of learning disability? How do you do this when a majority of them already struggle with comprehension and language due to their hearing loss? It seems as if most children with hearing loss can exhibit similar symptoms to certain communication, language, and  learning disorders.

Does anyone have any information about this? Anyone know of a deaf or hard of hearing individual who was misdiagnosed? If so, please contact me or leave a comment.

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Developmental Specialist Thought I Had Cerebral Palsy

When I was two, before I was tested for a hearing loss and wore hearing aids, I was not talking or communicating verbally like two year olds are supposed to. So, my mother brought me to different specialists and doctors to figure out what was going on. She told me about this developmental specialist who thought that I might have cerebral palsy or some sort of movement disorder. He even said that perhaps my movements could be related to autism.

My mother did not believe him. She knew why I was exhibiting these spasm like movements. But, she did not understand why I was doing them right then and there in front of this developmental specialist person.

Let me explain.

She said that I started doing this after seeing a person who happened to have cerebral palsy at a daycare I attended. For some reason I enjoyed imitating everything I see. My mom said that I was a really good mimic. Apparently, my movements were very realistic, enough to fool this specialist.

When I did these movements in front of the specialist, my mom scolded me and told me to stop. The specialist then scolded my mom and said, "Don't tell her to stop! She can't help it!" My mom tried to explain to him that I was faking it. He did not believe her. He thought she was in denial. This must have drove my mom crazy.

Sorry mom!

She laughs about it now.

When she told my pediatrician at this time, he busted out laughing. He, along with my daycare teacher, suspected that I had a hearing loss. It was very soon after that they tested my hearing and found that I had a significant hearing loss.

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Don't Just Memorize, Try to Understand

Even with a study guide and extra support from her study skills class, my student somehow managed to fail it. Of course my student was devastated too. She said that she studied real hard for the test. I had to figure out what she meant by this. How exactly did she study for this test using the study guide?

When we went over the test, I learned that she correctly answered the questions that were short, easy to read, and had some sort of graph or picture. But, on some of the ones she answered correctly, she was unable to tell me in her own words how she got it correctly or what it means to her.

It was obvious that she studied the test by trying to memorize the study guide.

The questions with words and phrases that she did not understand and that required her to use her inference skills were the ones she had the most trouble with. There were a lot of terms and phrases in the test that she did not understand. For example, she did not understand what "potential safety hazard" could mean. She knew what 'potential' meant (a term she had to know for her science vocabulary test), but did not understand what 'hazard' meant. How was she supposed to answer the question if she did not know what they were asking or what it meant?

So, I took a peek at her study guide and compared it to her actual test. The questions on the study guide somewhat matched the questions asked on the test. While some questions were completely identical, some were worded differently on the study guide. For example, the question that had the phrase 'potential safety hazard' was worded differently on the study guide. It was shorter and did not include the phrase 'potential safety hazard' instead it said 'dangerous'. 

Aha.

So, my student was merely memorizing the study guide and not taking the time to fully understand what she is expected to know.

Usually, if I ask her to read something, I always have to ask her if she understood what she just read. A lot of times she speeds through and does not take the time to think and ask questions. She does not have strong vocabulary and comprehension skills, which makes it tough for her to answer reading comprehension questions and word problems.

Usually, once I explain it to her in a way that she can understand it, she gets it and does not forget.

I always encourage her to try to really understand what is being taught to her and what she is reading. I told her that only memorizing everything is not studying. She has to understand it too, so that when she is asked in another way than what she is used to, she should have a better time answering it correctly. I have talked with the teachers about this and told them how important it is that they double check with her to see if she really understands a certain concept or word. I tell them to never ask her a "yes" or "no" question, because she will always nod her head and smile. She does the same thing when she pretends that she heard what was said to her.

From now on, I am going to look at these study guides with her more often and make sure she really understands what she is expected to know. I hope the teachers will understand what to look for now when seeing if whether or not she truly understands what is being taught to her.

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Give Teachers a Break

One of the things I enjoy most about my job as an itinerant teacher is that I am constantly behind the scenes. I travel from one school to another, never knowing what to expect or who I will see. I slip in and out of different classes to pull students, work with students in the class, observe, drop off or pick up equipment or documents, talk with the teachers, or give presentations about hearing loss issues. On a typical day, I go to at least four different schools and visit at least four different classes, four different students, eight different teachers, and countless numbers of administrators and random people who cross my path.

One of the most important things I have learned to do from my job is that sometimes it is best to stop and listen.  Really listen. I have come to really enjoy listening to others. I learn so much while giving those that I have listened to the opportunity to sort out their feelings and thoughts out loud. Sometimes you just gotta say some things out loud. Get it out.

From my past experiences, I learned that it is best to let the person talk and not interrupt and provide any advice or suggestions, unless they ask for it. A lot of times when people vent or talk out loud about their frustrations they are not interested in what you have to say.

I have had plenty of opportunities to hear teachers talk about about their job and about how frustrating and complicated everything can be.

Here are some things they often talk about:
  • Lack of respect and motivation from the students
  • Lack of respect and support from the administrators
  • Lack of respect and understanding from the parents
  • Dealing with 20-30 kids at once in a classroom, all with different needs, styles, and personalities
  • Never ending paperwork and meaningless tasks
  • Trying to follow and use the curriculum strictly enforced upon them
  • Not enough time, energy, and freedom to be the teacher they would like to be
  • The student they could not help as the school system shuffles him or her around until they drop out or graduate not ready for college or to get a decent job.
And the list goes on and on. Yet they are still there. Still willing to put up with the constant stress hurled at them on a daily basis while getting paid so little to do it. 

So, give teachers a break. They are up against a lot. Tell them something nice every now and then. Tell them, "Thank you."

One teacher who has been teaching for over twenty years, who won all these awards for 'best teacher of the year' and such, told me, "In all my years of teaching, I can only remember three parents who came to me and thanked me personally."

So, do me a favor, thank some teachers and tell them how much you appreciate all that they do for you. It could be enough to help them forget about the troubles for the day and to inspire them to teach as best as they can.

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In Memory of John Lennon

It has been thirty years since John Lennon's death on December 8, 1980.

Captioned:



In American Sign Language and voiced:



Not captioned, but better video quality:



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Food Language Fun With My Hard of Hearing Student

Every Friday, my hard of hearing student and I participate in trying a new food she had never experienced before. I bring in the food, we eat it, and talk about little things, like the weather, or what we are going to do tonight, and stuff. Then, I have her talk to me about the food she is eating. I ask her questions such as,"What does it taste like?" "Do you like it?" "Does it remind you of anything?" "Is it sweet?" "Do you like the crunchiness?" etc. Then, she has to write several complete sentences in response to some of my questions about the food. Usually, she draws a picture of the food and describes to me what it looks like. Then I ask her to write sentences on her own about the food. She has to draw from her experience and try to remember the language we used when talking about the food.

It's a fun exercise; one she thoroughly enjoys and looks forward to.

I think this week we will try licorice candies.

Last week was fudge. She had never heard of fudge before, so I brought some in for her to try. She loved it! Apparently, fudge is her favorite new food.

Here are pictures of some of her writing and drawings about eating fudge:




I thought it was interesting that she wrote about how her mom enjoys fudge, even though she told me that she never had or seen fudge before. I doubt her mother eats fudge. I think it is sweet that she usually includes her mother in just about everything we do.


This is a drawing of herself eating fudge. She even drew her hearing aid! LOL

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Working on Improving Your Speech

I came across this interesting forum for people who struggle with stuttering. As I read through a lot of the discussions, I found myself nodding in agreement to some of their experiences and struggles. Of course I will never begin to understand what it is like to have a chronic stuttering issue, but I can at least sympathize with their struggles in working on their speech, trying to sound "normal", and finding the right training or speech therapy to help with their problem. I can relate when they talk about being pulled out for speech therapy while at school. Many said that it seemed to be a waste of time and not very helpful. I remember playing a lot of games and spending most of the time working on my "r" sounds. One speech therapist made me feel like an idiot, so my experiences with her were not good, unfortunately. The classes were not intensive and they did not make me work as hard as I think I should have. If I said it somewhat correctly then it would be my turn to roll the dice and make my move.

I would have liked to have them be more involved with me outside of the speech classes. It would have been helpful for them to observe me in class and see if what we work on is carrying over into the classroom. From what I remember, a lot of times it was not. I did not pay attention to how I was talking outside of speech class. The only times I was more mindful of how I talked occurred while I was in speech class and when I was at home (where I was expected to try to speak more clearly). I feel that there could have been so many other areas I could have improve upon in my speech. I only remember working on my "r" sounds.


I learned that maturity and several years of practicing speaking have helped improve my speech. I don't really attribute my clear speaking ability to the speech classes I took in elementary school. 

There is no doubt that speech therapy has come a long way and is much better these days. But, for most students who are mainstreamed it seems as if it is harder to provide them appropriate intensive speech therapy. The speech pathologists here are wonderful but they have a HUGE caseload of students (30-70 kids). They are overwhelmed and are often not provided the right resources or information. Some of them see kids, who could really use it the most, only one or two times a week for 30-45 minutes each time, which is not enough, in my opinion. I see that when speech therapists spend time in the child's classroom and provide consult services on a weekly basis, they are able to work with the student better and see if what they practice in separate classes does carry over.

If you can afford it, I would recommend private speech therapy. I believe some insurance companies will cover speech therapy.

What I remembered doing as a teenager that helped me a lot, was reading out loud to myself. When I did this, I spoke slowly and really worked on enunciating every word. It felt weird to do this, but it forced me to think about how I speak and to concentrate on improving it. I even had a tape recorder so that I could hear how I sounded (ugh, I hate the sound of my voice).

I still "slip" every now and then and have to remember to slow down and think about how I am saying things. My speech is not perfect, but whose is?

By the way, I am having a hard time finding a website or online forum devoted to experiences of speech therapy by those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Is there anything like this online? I would like to learn what was most helpful and what was not most helpful. How did some of you work on improving your speech?
 
Good online speech resources:

http://speechbooks.com/blog/?cat=6

http://www.thespeechpathway.com/blog/

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My Speech Therapist Was Mean

angry_womanIt would have been helpful if one of my second grade speech therapists had a better understanding of deaf and hard of hearing children and language development.

She would sometimes show disbelief when I did not understand an idiom or an expression. "What?! You have not heard that before?! What planet are you from?!" I remember her saying this. It may not be exactly what she said, but you get the idea. It made me feel stupid. Because she would say things like this, I would be reluctant to ask questions or to admit that I did not understand. I would often smile and nod and pretend that I understood perfectly. Sometimes she would catch me when she asked me to clarify. My face would turn red and I would be so embarrassed as I admit that actually I did not really know. She would get angry with me and then make more inappropriate jokes, making me feel stupid again.

It seems as if most deaf and hard of hearing children will often miss out on certain sayings found in casual conversations, especially jokes and idioms. These casual conversations usually happen among a group of people (which can be hard to follow for most deaf and hard of hearing people). Because they can't hear very well, they will miss out on what was said or not fully understand why everyone laughed, exclaimed in excitement, or gasped in horror. Naturally, the deaf or hard of hearing child will wonder, "What was so funny?" "Why did they all look so sad?" "What in the world did my friend say that made everyone gasp?" Most young children are not going to ask others to repeat themselves or work hard to try to understand what was said or discussed. I think from past experiences, many learned that it is annoying or bothersome to ask others to repeat what they just said. If they do ask others what they were talking about, most of the time people will say, "Don't worry about it." or "It was nothing." or "I don't feel like explaining it again." So, instead of asking, they may shrug it off, never to know or understand what was said. If children are not hearing or understanding most of what is said in casual conversations, they will lack an understanding of common jokes, idioms, and everyday sayings. If my speech therapist was aware of this, then maybe she would have been more sensitive in how she interacted with me.

One time, the speech therapist went overboard. My best friend at the time (and still is!) remembers this clearly (she took speech with me as she worked on her "s"). The speech therapist was asking me questions that I was supposed to answer, probably to evaluate my speech. One of the questions she asked, "What do people do on Sunday?" I answered something about reading the newspaper (which my parents religiously do Sunday mornings). She said that I was wrong or something about how this was not the answer she was looking for. She kept asking me and asking me, "What do people do on Sundays?" "Where do they go on Sundays?" I kept giving her various answers, "Stay home." "They sleep in." "They mow the lawn." "Watch television.", desperate to give her the right answer. The anxiety kept me from being able to think clearly. She rolled her eyes and let out loud sighs. She looked at me like I was crazy. My friend winced and tried to tell me the answer with her eyes.

I was near tears.
Finally, after what seemed like twenty minutes, the speech therapist yelled out,
"CHURCH! Knock! Knock! Anybody home?!"
My friend gasped, her mouth hung open. She tried not to laugh (which is what she often does when she gets nervous or is horrified).
I exclaimed, "Oh! Oh yeah. People go to church on Sundays, right." I was trying not to cry. I smiled and pretended as if it did not bother me. I felt so stupid, I felt that I should have known immediately that she was talking about church.

The speech therapist then moved on to the next question for my friend. She did not ask me anymore questions for the rest of the session.

My friend remembers this day clearly and we often talk and joke about it. Kids don't forget things like this, no matter how long ago it was.
Perhaps, if the speech therapist had said that the building had a cross on it or that it is where people go to worship and pray, then I would have said "church". Also, if she knew a little more about my family and my upbringing she would know that we did not attend church regularly on Sundays. I have been to church only a few times with my friend and neighbor on Sundays and sometimes on Wednesdays.  Plus, I lived near a Synagogue and had more experience seeing people go to their place of worship on Saturdays than people going to church on Sundays. How was I supposed to instantly recall where people go on Sundays? When she said "people", I assumed everyone. Perhaps it would have helped if she had said "some people" and to realize that not everyone goes to church on Sundays.

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Related Post:

Let's Work On Your R's! 

Audiograms of Some of My Students - How I Use Them

Below are some audiograms of some of my students, which I made using Deafness and Hearing Aids' 'Online Audiogram Creator'. This is a really neat tool because it allows me to plot down the results neatly and easily.




Whenever I want to help teachers understand their students' hearing loss I use their audiograms. I also use a blank audiogram with pictures and then plot the students' results directly onto them. I found that the pictures help give them an idea of what their student will have trouble hearing.


Often, I find that saying that the child is deaf or has a hearing loss is not enough. It seems as if when they can see it, it is easier to understand. Once they begin to fully understand the child's hearing loss, they begin to understand how to accommodate them better. So far, using their audiograms have helped tremendously.

*Picture Audiogram from Hands and Voices.

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