Meet My Child!

Posted on August 08 2014, 3:49:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Teachers and therapists welcome information about children to be able to work with them well. Parents can provide information from their own observations and others’ reports. A personal way to share a child’s strengths is by giving service providers an introductory summary.

A “Meet My Child” intro can be created however a family prefers. Sometimes they make a small book with photos. Others might create a one-page list.  Parents can choose to share what they think will help service providers interact easily with a child and get to know him quickly. 

A child summary can create an initial connection between families and those working with them. Parents can offer to come talk to children in a class, meet with staff and provide email/text/phone contacts. Here are suggestions for sharing specific but simple examples:

My child’s name is: Isabelle but everyone calls her Bella. She can write part of her first name.

My child enjoys: swings and climbing. He likes to build with blocks and play in the sandbox.

My child’s favorite are: books about trains, Curious George videos and chocolate cookies.

Our family includes: Mama, grandpa and Cousin, Anna. We ride the bus to our appointments.

Our home has: a wooden toy rocking horse and a large brown and white pet dog named Duke.

My child’s school is: a Family Day Care but next year it will be the neighborhood preschool.

My child uses this listening device: a cochlear implant that sends signals to the brain to sense sound. Or: hearing aids that makes sounds louder but not always clearer.

My child communicates: by talking but sometimes may need you to repeat questions or directions.

My child hears better: when background noise is reduced and individuals speak one at a time.

If the listening device is not working: my child may respond slower or seem not to notice voices.

You also need to know: Here parents can provide more information or additional pages. This might include a drawing or explanation about the listening device. For example: This is how the implant or hearing aid should look on my child’s head. It should be worn all waking hours and kept dry. If it falls off, staff can follow steps to put it back on. Our family checks the battery every day.

Provided with these examples is a list of child descriptors a families can use or adapt.


Meet My Child!

My child’s name is:

My child enjoys: 

My child’s favorite are: 

Our family includes: 

Our home has:

My child’s school is: 

My child uses this listening device:

My child communicates: 

My child hears better: 

If the listening device is not working:

You also need to know: 


Download a PDF version of Meet My Child!

Click here to read Meet My Child! in Spanish.

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Strengthening Social Skills for Special Days

Posted on August 04 2014, 3:43:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Holidays and special events are wonderful times for a child with hearing loss to delight in different experiences and discover new language. Anticipation begins as he helps with preparations and then his awareness grows as he participates. When parents guide a child to be involved in a parade, festival, party, feast, performance, or family event, this naturally strengthens social skills for special days.

Assisting with preparations offers many opportunities for interaction. These experiences build a child’s understanding and encourage conversation!

Reading – Explore books and discuss pictures of a past or similar event.  Look at short descriptions that connect the upcoming event with a child’s curiosity or current interests. An example would be reading a picture book about a celebration and sharing excitement about its arrival.

Talking – Use words and demonstrate actions that will be part of an upcoming celebration. Enjoy discussing what is planned or why you are celebrating. An example would be reviewing words or phrases commonly used during the event so the child can join in or be able to answer.

Remembering – Look at photos of the child himself or other family members in a prior special day. Have fun recalling experiences or identifying who will be part of a future event. An example would be viewing videos of the child and family sharing a recent, special time.

Decorating – Design together or arrange decorations for traditional or family special days. Display some items where a child can enjoy looking at them or show others what he made. An example would be creating simple items that might be kept and used again for future celebrations.

Encouraging participating can provide many natural communication experiences. Being involved directly expands a child’s knowledge and social skills. 

Cooking – Choose one quick recipe that the child can help make. Involve the child in buying some items at the store and then following directions to prepare the ingredients. An example would be helping to cook, decorate or serve food to be shared during a special day.

Singing – Enjoy specific songs associated with an event or invent a short melody. Teach the child actions that go with one tune or the words to a repetitive verse. An example might be singing a birthday song or joining in clapping in rhythm to certain segments of a celebration song.
Communicating -Explain to extended family how to interact simply and often. Show how to use methods that support the child in listening easily and responding comfortably.   An example would be guiding visitors to directly talk to the child and pause to give him time to reply.

Playing – Plan games and activities that are usually part a special day. Introduce the typical language and behaviors so the child can be ready to join. An example could be a practicing a game so the child knows what to do when it is his turn and can be part of the group fun. 

Children can be guided to explore multiple actions, concepts and words associated with special days. Some examples may fit for many families but other events could vary by cultures and regions. By identifying events expected in coming months, parents can start to familiarize a child with customary activities and typical language that fit with a family’s personal style and traditional celebrations.


General Examples to be Modified by Individual Families

Event Action Concept Sound/word Phrases
Birthdays Blowing candles Make a wish Part of birthday song I am ___ years old.
Ceremonies Imitating movements Watch quietly Shhhh Congratulations!
Feasts Eating at table Try a taste Yummmm Please?
Games Playing in a small group Take turns Hurrah Can I play?
Gifts Scribbling a mark/letter to “sign” a card Give/receive Oh Wow This is for you.
Parades Waving Applaud Look, look It’s too loud.
Parties Shaking hands Meet new friends Hello What’s your name?

Parents can plan ahead to help a young child with hearing loss learn from preparing and participating in everything from a casual play date to a formal holiday observance .  As his understanding and interactions increase a child can delight in family festivities and community occasions. Everyone can celebrate his strengthened social skills.

Download a PDF version of Strengthening Social Skills for Special Days.

Click here to view Strengthening Social Skills for Special Days in Spanish.

Fun Family Activities

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Advancing Auditory Abilities of New Listeners

Posted on March 17 2014, 1:25:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Parents anxiously await their child’s responses to sound when he gets hearing aids or cochlear implants. The process of learning to listen takes experience and time. Families are an essential part of that process. They use everyday occurrences to enjoy exploring sounds with their child. Parents can pause, expect the child to react and offer encouragement when he responds.  They can also join in pointing out, locating and listening to sounds together.  

As the child with a hearing aid or cochlear implant learns to listen, he progresses through four levels of audition:   detection, discrimination, identification and comprehension. Audiologists set devices to provide the best awareness of sound while therapists and parents help the child strengthen his listening skills. A child develops interest in listening as he reacts to, searches for and recognizes sounds.    

Detection is awareness of sound.  A child might enjoy playing with a toy and notice the music it makes. He does not yet understand the meaning of that sound or how it may differ from others.  When he hears his musical toy he might glance upward or look around.  As he becomes more aware he may search for other sounds he hears.

Many sounds occur naturally throughout a child’s day.  A child can be gently guided to attend to varied sounds when they happen. Families do not need to frequently present sounds to determine if the child hears.  They can build their child’s awareness of voices by showing him when big brother is calling to him, baby sister is crying or grandma is talking. 

With experience a child discriminates between sounds.  He realizes that sounds differ although he still does not know what each means.  When he is playing with a musical toy but looks up if people nearby begin to talk, he is discriminating the difference between sounds.  

Families can guide their child to learn sound discrimination. They might aid him in identifying if the microwave beeps in a noisy kitchen when other sounds are occurring. To help a child discriminate a specific speech sound, parents might sometimes carefully emphasize it while continuing to use a normal tone and pace.  For example if the child is learning the ‘sh’ sound, a parent might say “sh-sh-shush, the baby is napping.”

A child begins to identify sounds as he associates them with specific actions or objects.  This skill often occurs almost at the same time as the discrimination stage.  When a child knows that the sound of his musical toy is different from other sounds, he quickly begins to identify what each sound represents.  He might hear his musical toy and run to find it.  

Families help with sound identification by aiding a child to find the source of a sound.  They might guide him to look for the loud garbage truck when it arrives regularly.  Later when he hears it, the child initiates going to window to see the truck.  He does not yet know that the truck picks up garbage but he identifies its sound. Parents can also assist a child with identifying some speech sounds by using a sing-song voice for certain words. They might say, “Do you want to be picked up? Up, up, up?”  Although the child does not know the meaning of the words, he raises his arms because he associates that tone with being picked up.   

When a child comprehends a sound, he responds with appropriate action or language.  He understands the meaning of specific sounds and how to react to them.  At this stage, a child would recognize the sounds of his musical toy and the actions that can accompany its tunes. When he hears the musical toy’s sounds, he starts movements the family has been doing for that song. For example, when the toy plays the pony song, he pretends to ride a horse. He is able to act on his identification of a sound.

A child is guided through the comprehension stage when families help him understand a sound and respond.  A parent might explain when the buzzer for the dryer rings, that the clothes are ready to go in the laundry basket for the child to help sort. Over time a child could demonstrate his comprehension of the meaning of that sound by getting the laundry basket when the dryer buzzes. Guiding a child to comprehend speech is done when families talk about an object, look at it and use the word in various situations. An example would be if they do this on many occasions for shoes, eventually when the child is asked to get his shoes, he demonstrates comprehension by looking for them.

Additional strategies families can use to encourage listening include: 

  • singing often, inventing tunes and enjoying musical activities
  • imitating natural sounds that are meaningful and interesting
  • using varied voice patterns and typical facial expressions 
  • talking within three feet of the child’s device microphone 
  • communicating in meaningful short sentences and phrases 
  • using longer sentences as the child’s understanding grows 

A child is encouraged to develop his auditory skills when families provide experiences and enthusiasm for fun listening.  He becomes more attentive to sound and curious about new sounds.  The child may indicate if his device is on or off and when the battery is not working.  His responses to hearing tests could increase in accuracy.  A child’s spoken language will improve as he understands speech sounds in words. With much practice and encouragement, a child gradually grows from a new listener to one with advanced auditory abilities.

Download a PDF version of Advancing Auditory Abilities of New Listeners

Read Advancing Auditory Abilities of New Listeners in Spanish

Hearing Loss and Listening Devices

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Making the Most of Your Child’s Audiology Appointments

Posted on February 21 2014, 4:47:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Parents can obtain the best access to sound possible for their child by being actively involved in audiology appointments.  Audiologists follow a child regularly to identify hearing levels, check devices, and manage auditory health. Parents can ask questions, document listening and discuss decisions.  Audiologists can provide information, track progress and build a partnership with the family.  Together parents and audiologists can transform appointments into learning sessions on how to help the child.

Becoming Comfortable  
Developing a good working relationship requires locating an audiologist who has experience with children and interacts well with the individual family.  Over time the parent and the child can build trust and become comfortable with the audiologist. If parents wish to change audiologists they can ask their child’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist or other families for a recommendation. As parents and audiologists increase their contact and deepen their communication, they form a partnership where they both contribute to their understanding of the child’s needs.

Scheduling appointments   
Families can finish each appointment with a schedule for return testing.  Depending on a child’s age, hearing loss or type of listening device, testing might be scheduled between 3 and 6 month intervals.   Children with hearing loss younger than eight years of age will benefit from visiting the audiologist more than once per year.  Hearing levels can change and new recommendations for listening devices might be considered. Even if they are not using a listening device, children with Auditory Neuropathy need to be seen every 6 months or anytime there are concerns about changes in responses.  

Asking questions   
Parents often ask what their child can hear. The audiologist might mark hearing levels on an audiogram to show what sounds should be audible and at what distance the child should hear them.  After a child becomes accustomed to listening, audiologists will inquire about his responses.  Parents can discuss changes in sound awareness, concerns about responses, differences in using speech sounds or discomfort with any sounds. A child might answer questions too or ask his own. Asking and answering questions help audiologists conduct testing, determine if the hearing aid or implant needs adjustments or decide to refer to an ENT specialist.  

Checking  devices 
Assuring access to sound can be done by monitoring if devices are working well.  A device that is not functioning properly can impact a child’s listening and speech. Parents can learn how to do daily checks on a hearing aid, cochlear implant and/or FM to be sure devices are functioning correctly. They can troubleshoot problems such as distortion, static, or intermittence.  The audiologist should be contacted to check listening equipment if there are questions about how it is working.  Making appointments when there are concerns can help keep a child’s auditory input consistent for clear communication.

Providing information 
Parents can request that audiologists give information to the child’s service providers.  Services can be suggested and expectations can be shaped when other professionals know more about a child’s listening abilities. If there are changes made to settings or programs or a child gets a different listening device, observations of his listening behaviors can be reported.  The audiologists can help families and providers to understand the amount of time that might be needed to see change and what behaviors to look for and report.

Reporting progress 
The child’s educational staff can report concerns and successes for parents to tell the audiologist.  They can identify how new listening devices, hearing aid settings or cochlear implant maps seem to be impacting the child’s school performance. If the child is working with Speech Language or Auditory Verbal Therapists, reports from the audiologists can be used to guide him towards learning new speech sounds, and reports to the audiologist can show his progress.  For children with Auditory Neuropathy the times when hearing seems better or when listening becomes more difficult, can be reported to the parents and the audiologist.
Documenting listening
To record fully how a child is responding, examples of listening at home and school can be reviewed along with test results.  Families can document a variety of situations to share with the audiologist.  Parents can express concerns or identify hopes for improvement by listing specific examples such as:

  • Circumstances when the child listens well 
  • Settings when the child has difficulties
  • Distance that seems to be best for responses
  • Sounds the child is hearing often
  • Sounds which are upsetting or unnoticed
  • Inconsistencies that are concerning
  • Worries the family has currently
  • Questions parents need explained

Discussing Decisions  
As families express their concerns, audiologists give suggestions for how to increase listening skills. Parents can ask for their child to be tested in the sound booth wearing his hearing aid or implant to measure the effects of that device. The audiologist could explain the possible need for trying a different device or adding an FM system to help increase access to voices. A child might say what devices he wants and possibly choose colors he likes. If there is a recommendation to change from hearing aids to implants, discussing what this involves is part of the process.  

Forming Partnerships
Parents become empowered as they come to audiology appointments prepared to ask questions and consider options. Young children can be encouraged to provide information too.  When families communicate regularly with audiologists, shared information becomes more detailed. Discussions between the parent, child and audiologist lead to identifying specific strategies that best fit that child.  Together they can make the most of every appointment and form a strong and successful partnership that can last many years. 


Download a PDF version of Making the Most of Your Child’s Audiology Appointments.

View Making the Most of Your Child’s Audiology Appointments in Spanish.

Hearing Loss and Listening Devices

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Successful Strategies for Starting School Services

Posted on February 14 2014, 12:58:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Parents of young child with hearing loss have a significant role in the start of school services.  Many families wish to be active in their child’s early education but are unsure how to start. Programs and the rights of children and their families vary from country to country and even within countries. Parents can ask for a referral or initiate contact with community educators to begin learning about school possibilities.  Wherever they live, families can become involved in locating and designing learning. Effective advocacy involves determining their child’s needs, exploring education programs and initiating services. Then parents can collaborate with programs to nurture their child’s potential. 

Starting strategies for parents include:
Determining the Child’s Individual Needs

  1. Identify preferences for child’s communication and listening device(s). 
  2. Join groups to meet parents, share information and locate resources.
  3. Collect copies of child’s evaluations and recent recommendations.
  4. Document services received and effectiveness of techniques tried.
  5. Develop ongoing relationships with positive, pro-active professionals.

Exploring Hearing Loss Programs 

  1. Research educational approaches where the family lives.
  2. Visit programs for children in special and typical settings.
  3. Observe group size, peer contact and staff-child interactions.
  4. Inquire about teaching strategies, parent involvement and student outcomes.
  5. Ask about providers’ credentials, pediatric experience and training in hearing loss.

Meeting to Develop Early Services

  1. Present child’s past progress, current strengths and future goals.
  2. Request equipment and/or accommodations for participation.
  3. Invite an individual supportive of the family to accompany parent to meetings.
  4. Plan follow-up to discuss more questions and review progress.
  5. Continue learning about child’s hearing loss and communication.

When parents increase their understanding of educational approaches, they can participate with more confidence in their child’s schooling. In the U.S.A., the education of children with hearing loss, including eligibility and written plans, are protected by laws. Parent perspectives are part of the process for evaluating a child and making educational decisions.  Materials about the U.S. special education process are available from many sources including school districts, disability offices, parent organizations and the Internet.  Even when information is specific to a certain country, strategies, facts and suggestions may assist parents living elsewhere to develop plans for their child. 

As parents see what helps their child make progress, they can explore how to attain specific supports needed. Obtaining quality education can sometimes be a challenging experience for families. Establishing a strong combination of services and support can take much time, effort and ongoing modification. Parents around the world have discovered that positive advocacy is effective and empowering. The results of educational collaboration can be new opportunities for an individual child and maybe for other children too. The involvement of parents in starting school services can make a dramatic difference in a child’s learning and build a foundation for future achievement.

Download a PDF version of Successful Strategies for Starting School Services.
View Successful Strategies for Starting School Services in Spanish.

Parent Support and Advocacy

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Unilateral Hearing Loss is Unique

Posted on January 27 2014, 4:06:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Listening with both ears provides awareness of the direction of sound, ability to hear in noise, and a sense of strong, clear sound. Hearing loss in one ear, called unilateral loss, changes the listening experience. Unilateral hearing loss might be present at birth, develop slowly, happen suddenly or increase over time (showing a progressive loss). A child with unilateral hearing loss can still learn to listen and use spoken language relying on normal hearing in one ear. His responses may seem similar to a child with typical hearing but there are differences. When parents learn about the unique aspects of unilateral hearing loss they can work with service providers to determine needs for information and intervening.


Newborn hearing screening or routine hearing testing at any age can detect unilateral hearing loss.  The level of loss can vary from mild to profound. After identification an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist might be consulted to determine the reason for the hearing loss. The causes of unilateral hearing loss include mother’s illnesses during pregnancy, viruses in early childhood or incomplete formation of the ear. Obtaining genetic information about possible hereditary conditions or causes can also be explored. It is not always possible to identify the cause of unilateral loss but parents can focus on what to do for their child. 

Following up
After the initial diagnosis, a child needs regular testing to check for any changes in hearing. Unilateral hearing loss can remain stable permanently. Sometimes individuals develop hearing loss in the other ear later. With unilateral hearing loss the ear with hearing might be described as the “listening” ear or “better” side.  The ear with hearing loss could be called the “poor” ear or the “bad’ side. When a child with unilateral hearing has an earache it can make listening harder during that time. If any change in hearing health or listening levels is suspected, parents can obtain care and follow-up from ear specialists and audiologists. 

A child with unilateral hearing loss can develop his listening, language and speech through typical early childhood activities including conversing with family, playing games, reading books and singing songs. Parents and teachers can watch to see if communication difficulties arise in certain situations. The child with unilateral hearing loss may have difficulty when there is background noise or several conversations happening at once.  How well a child hears all the sounds of speech can impact his own speech skills. Parents can be aware of typical hearing milestones and schedule an evaluation if there are questions about the development of a child’s communication.  If there is a delay parents can inquire about speech and language services.

Some children with unilateral hearing loss benefit from a hearing aid but others do not. For some children a hearing aid might provide better access to sound, increase localization, enhance listening in groups or improve hearing in background noise. When a hearing aid is suggested, families can provide it early to help a child develop stronger listening skills. If the classroom is noisy or the teacher is a distance from the child an “FM system” can be requested.  FMs amplify a teacher’s voice and carry that sound closer to the child. Parents can also make regular appointments to check devices, document ongoing benefit and review what technology can be useful for the child.

A child with unilateral loss benefits when sounds occur near his hearing ear.  Noisy toys can be placed near the baby’s better ear. People can approach a toddler from his stronger side so he hears them coming. A child could sit with his listening side closer to the TV or media speakers. In a conversation he might sit with his listening ear close to one person who is talking, at the head of the table during family meals or at the end of a conversational half circle in school. In noisy and big places, the child can be closer to persons speaking or in quieter areas of the room. Parents can make changes in positioning for easier listening. 

Recognizing the direction of sounds (sound localization) can be challenging for a child with unilateral hearing loss. In some situations a child may not know if he is being called or from where. In group games, crowded events, noisy places and areas with traffic a child may have difficulty attending. Families can guide the child to get in the habit of listening closely and looking carefully in noisy or busy areas to be aware of what is going on around him. Whenever a child joins a new classroom, staff can make efforts to lower room sound and seat him away from noisy equipment. Parents can explain to those interacting with a child when it could be helpful to obtain his attention or repeat statements to increase his listening comprehension.

If a child demonstrates difficulty in learning, parents can discuss with teachers ways to enhance listening. The most useful listening distance is within six feet of a speaker. A child usually benefits from sitting so the ear used for hearing is closest to his teacher and classmates. For example, if a child has a left unilateral loss, he should sit so his right ear is closer to those speaking. In a semi-circle he could be seated at one end of the group, with the teacher and children on the side he uses to hear. A child who also relies on vision to supplement what he hears should be allowed to sit where he can see people and materials easily. Sometimes pictorial schedules, written directions or visual cues help a child keep up with the group routine.  Parents can ask for accommodations to support a child’s independent participation in play, day care and school settings.

When a child is supported and acknowledged as capable, he can aim to achieve.  A child with unilateral hearing loss may appear to be managing but can still have challenges especially in school. Families can keep in close contact with teachers to look for any needs that arise and explore ways to help their child succeed. Protecting the hearing of the “good” ear is also essential. To support their child parents can:

  • Create many fun early listening experiences 
  • Observe how the child interacts and responds
  • Look for signs of listening or learning frustrations
  • Watch for changes in social and school behaviors
  • Realize distraction or disinterest could be listening difficulties
  • Discuss strategies with educators to support performance in class
  • Ensure when a hearing aid is prescribed that the child uses it full time
  • Reduce noise in classrooms (hamster cages, pencil sharpeners, corridor conversations)
  • Consider what services or accommodations can help the child achieve 
  • Keep volume of child’s personal electronic devices at moderate levels
  • Obtain effective ear protection for child in noise (earplugs, earmuffs, custom ear molds) 
  • Intervene across varied settings to create optimal listening experiences for the child 

When families take actions for identifying, following up, communicating, amplifying, positioning, attending, accommodating or intervening they become advocates for their child. They can also encourage the child to identify when he can’t hear and what helps him listen better. Even a young child can begin to advocate for himself by saying when he does not hear, suggesting ways he can listen easily or requesting that people speak to his better ear.  As a child becomes a self-advocate he learns how to be a successful communicator and stronger learner. A child will take his cues from parents to view unilateral hearing loss as one aspect of his unique, wonderful self. 


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Hearing Loss and Listening Devices

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Children’s Hearing Milestones

Posted on December 17 2013, 2:21:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

A child’s hearing can be tested at any age and as early as a few hours after being born. In the U.S. it is estimated that 12,000 children are born each year with a hearing loss. Children also need to be screened regularly for hearing loss because it can occur any time for varied reasons. Undetected hearing loss in young children may cause difficulties in communication and learning. Parents can ask for their child’s hearing to be checked whenever there is a concern. If a child is not demonstrating typical hearing milestones evaluations done by audiologists can help identify if there is hearing loss. Early diagnosis and intervention can help with language, listening and speech! 

0-3 months
Recognizes parent’s voice. Reacts to loud sounds. Wakes slightly to nearby conversations.  Smiles when spoken to.

By 6 months
Responds to changing voice tones. Reacts to noisy toys. Begins looking for sound sources. Uses many speech-like sounds while babbling.

By 9 months
Responds to simple requests. Locates the direction of sounds.  Reacts to own name. Babbles different length sounds.  

By 12 months
Understands a variety of words. Imitates some speech sounds. Enjoys games such as peek-a-boo. Says first word(s).

By 18 months
Follows simple directions. Enjoys being read to. Points to some body parts. Uses more than six words. 

By 2 years 
Responds to yes/no questions. Understands meaning of many words.  Points to pictures on request. Uses two word phrases.

By 3 years
Understand many action words. Recognizes familiar melodies. Uses three-word sentences. Speaks clearly enough for family to understand. 

By 4 years
Follows two-step directions. Responds when called from another room. Uses sentences of four or more words. Speaks clearly enough for non-family to understand most of the time. 

By 5 years
Responds to varied questions.  Sings full songs and includes actions. Has a growing vocabulary. Uses detailed sentences.


Download a PDF version of Children’s Hearing Milestones.

Click here to view Children’s Hearing Milestones in Spanish.

Development and Learning | Encouraging Language and Speech

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Learn to Listen Through Sound Fun

Posted on December 10 2013, 1:48:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

Parents help children expand their listening skills by pointing out sounds. Toys, animals, actions, vehicles and other sounds can be explored when they occur. Families can also identify different sounds for their child to notice in their daily routine. Therapists may suggest specific sounds for listening experience. The list below can be used to create listening opportunities. Listening is fun to do together.

Toys     Actions  
Bubbles pop pop   Airplane aaahhh
Clown ha, ha, ha   Cowboy yahoo
Doll wa, wa, wa   Drip plop, plop
Shovel dig, dig, dig   Eating mmm
Top round and round   Falling down ouch
      Knock knock, knock
Animals     No no, no, no
Bear gr-gr   Raining pitter, patter
Bird tweet, tweet   Rocking la, la, la
Cat mmmeeeeooww   Running gg-g-g- gggoooo
Chick buk, buk, buk   Santa Claus ho, ho,ho
Cow mmmoooo   Sleeping sssshhhhh
Crow caw, caw   Slide whee
Dog bow wow, woof woof   Up up, up, up
Duck quack, quack   Walk walk, walk, walk
Horse (click tongue)   Wave bye bye, bye
Monkey hee, hee   Wind blowing whoosh
Owl hoo, hoo      
Pig oink, oink   Vehicles  
Rabbit hop, hop, hop   Ambulance woo, woo, woo
Rooster cock-a-doodle-doo   Boat p, p, p, (whisper)
Sheep baa, baa   Bus bu, bu, bu
Snake sssssssssss   Car beep, beep
      Helicopter wapa, wapa, wapa
      Siren oowar, oowar
      Train ch ch ch oo
      Truck bbrrr

Adapted from:

Estabrooks, W. (Ed.). (1998). Cochlear Implants for Kids. Washington, DC:Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf. Wilson, K. (2004, Oct.). Listen up! A model of auditory learning, games, activities, strategies, & techniques for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Presentation. Norfolk, VA.

Download a PDF version of Learn to Listen Through Sound Fun.

View Learn to Listen Through Sound Fun in Spanish.

Fun Family Activities

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Stages of Listening, Language & Speech Development

Posted on November 26 2013, 2:12:00 PM | Posted by jtcpals

A child can be an expert communicator at an early age. Long before the first word, from a baby’s coo of delight to a toddler’s eager response to a request, a child’s brain is constantly developing. The many aspects of communication occur in sequential stages. Each stage increases a child’s readiness to acquire more complex skills. This progression of learning is the same for children with hearing loss or typical hearing. When parents understand the stages of listening, language and speech they can guide their child in learning through abundant, full interactions.

By carefully watching a child communicate parents can identify his current abilities.. When a child uses a hearing aid or cochlear implant, his progress might be measured by his chronological age and his hearing age (the length of time he has benefitted from a device.) While a child usually learns these in order, some skills might overlap, occur out of sequence or not be achieved. The examples on a developmental chart are used for documenting growth and discussing goals with service providers. Early listening, language and speech are learned best through daily routines and enjoyable activities. With increased communication comes increased success!

From birth to twelve months these initial skills can occur
Listening Language Speech
  • Reacts to loud sounds
  • Responds to voice
  • Calms when spoken to
  • Reacts to speech by vocalizing
  • Notices toys that make noise
  • Listens to music
  • Looks to locate sounds
  • Responds to name
  • Recognizes words for common objects
  • Enjoys games like Peek-a-Boo, Patty-cake


  • Attends to facial expressions
  • Realizes words have meaning
  • Recognizes family members' names
  • Comprehends simple phrases
  • Understands specific words with gestures


  • Laughs
  • Smiles in recognition
  • Vocalizes to express pleasure and anger
  • Points and gestures
  • Has vocabulary 1-3 words
  • Uses single word sentences
  • Makes sucking sounds
  • Cries with varying pitch, loudness, duration
  • Coos
  • Uses many different vocalizations
  • Says vowels ee, i, ah, oo,
  • Babbles in response to voice
  • Imitates some speech sounds/ intonations
  • Babbles with definite inflection
  • Uses non crying sounds to interact
  • Says mama and dada meaningfully

May begin using:

  • /p/,/m/,/h/,/n/,/w/ ( from 6 months – 2 years)
  • /b/ ( from 6 months – 3 years)


From 1 to 2 years these skills may occur and increase
Listening Language Speech
  • Imitates two–word phrases
  • Listens to short stories
  • Enjoys simple songs
  • Actively participates in hearing tests (visual reinforcement audiometry)


  • Knows body part names
  • Points to pictures when asked
  • Follows simple requests


  • Vocalizes his demands
  • Says "no" meaningfully
  • Adds words regularly to vocabulary
  • Names needed items
  • Uses own name in reference to himself
  • Labels pictures
  • Jargons with words to describe experiences
  • Uses nouns and verbs
  • Says three–word utterances
  • Asks some one-two word questions (go?)
  • Uses simple descriptors (big, pretty)
  • Jabbers with rhythm during play
  • Uses more words than jargon
  • Begins singing words in songs
  • Speech is mostly intelligible to family

May begin using:

  • /k/,/g/, /d/, /f/, /y/ (from 18 months to 3 years)
  • /t/, /ng/ (from 18 months to 5 years)

Continues to learn:

  • /p/,/m/,/h/,/n/,/w/ (from 6 months – 2 years)
  • /b/ (from 6 months – 3 years)


From 2 to 3 years these skills may occur and continue to expand
Listening Language Speech
  • Attends to sounds in noisy settings
  • Enjoys books with sounds
  • Notices environmental sounds
  • Mimics sounds of objects and animals
  • Notices word changes in familiar stories
  • Imitates adult speech patterns correctly


  • Follows two–step directions
  • Understands names for common object
  • Enjoys being read to
  • Responds to "yes" and "no" questions
  • Understands 500-900 words


  • Uses plurals
  • Refers to self with pronoun
  • States full name
  • Participates in storytelling
  • Begins to use five–word sentences
  • Begins to ask who, what, why questions
  • Describes experiences in multiple short sentences
  • Names basic colors, shapes, sizes
  • Uses 50-250 words
  • Usually communicates with words
  • Uses initial and medial consonants
  • Expresses ½ - ¾ speech understandably
  • Sings short songs

May begin using:

  • /r/, /l/(from 2-5 years)
  • /s/ (from 2-8 years)
  • /sh/ and /ch/ (from 2.5 -5.5 years)
  • /z/(from 2.5 -8 years)

Continues to learn:

  • /k/,/g/, /d/, /f/, /y/
    (from 18 months to 3 years)
  • /b/ (from 6 months – 3 years)


From 3 to 4 years these skills may occur and be used in many situations
Listening Language Speech
  • Initiates singing familiar songs
  • Participates in group story time
  • Includes actions in songs
  • Easily locates sound sources
  • Talks about sounds heard


  • Can follow three-step directions
  • Recognizes object functions
  • Understands 1000-2000 words


  • Begins to use multi phrase sentences
  • Starts using numbers
  • Names letters of the alphabet
  • Uses words for feelings
    Includes prepositions (on, under)
  • Uses verbs is, are, am correctly
  • Takes turns in conversations
  • Uses 800-1500 words
  • Tries different voices during play

May begin using:

  • /j/ (from 3 – 7 years)
  • /v/ (from 3 – 8 years)
  • /th/ (from 3/5 – 7 years)

Continues to learn:

  • /r/, /l/ (from 2 – 5 years)
  • /a/ (from 2 - 8 years)
  • /sh/ and /ch/ (from 2.5 - 5.5 years)
  • /z/ (from 2.5 years - 8 years)
  • /t/, /ng/ (from 18 months to 5 years)


From 4 to 5 years these skills may occur and become more complex
Listening Language Speech
  • Concentrates in small school groups
  • Watches media and discusses it
  • Names environmental sounds
  • Knows he is expected to listen
  • Enjoys playing with words and word sounds


  • Understands same and different
  • Recognizes how objects are related
  • Comprehends most of what is said at home and in school


  • Speaks in four to eight –word simple sentences
  • Includes verbs and adjectives
  • Sustains a topic in conversation
  • Applies possessives (mine, yours)
  • Uses pronouns correctly
  • Exchanges information
  • Includes rhyming words
  • Speaks differently to adults than children
  • Speech is generally understandable

Continues to learn:

  • /t/, /ng/ (from 18 months to 5 years)
  • /j/ (from 3 – 7 years)
  • /v/ (from 3 – 8 years)
  • /th/ (from 3.5 – 7 years)
  • /s/ (from 2 - 8 years)
  • /sh/ and /ch/ (from 2.5 - 5.5 years)
  • /z/ (from 2.5 years - 8 years)
  • /r/, /l/ (from 2 – 5 years)


From 5 to 6 years these skills may occur and be seen in school tasks
Listening Language Speech
  • Sounds out words in print
  • Attends to longer stories and activities


  • Follows multi-step directions
  • Understand some idioms
  • Recognizes synonyms and specialized vocabulary


  • Initiates conversations and stays on topic
  • Speaks in complex sentences
  • Uses "if" statements
  • Applies past and future tenses
  • Accurately tells a story
  • Uses different voice levels
  • Pronunciation is generally correct

Continues to learn:

  • /j/ (from 3 – 7 years)
  • /v/ (from 3 – 8 years)
  • /th/ (from 3.5 – 7 years)
  • /s/ (from 2 - 8 years)
  • /sh/ and /ch/ (from 2.5 - 5.5 years)
  • /z/ (from 2.5 years - 8 years)

† The speech examples in this chart are based on American English. There are vowels and consonants listed here that do not occur in other languages. For example, Spanish does not have a short /a/, /i/, /u/ or a /j/, /v/, /z/. The production of some sounds may also vary in certain geographic areas and in different languages. Families can ask speech language therapists for lists of phonemes for their home language and ages they are typically acquired.

Download a PDF version of Stages of Listening, Language & Speech Development.

Read and print Stages of Listening, Language & Speech Development in Spanish.

Development and Learning | Encouraging Language and Speech | Hearing Loss and Listening Devices

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Follow Their Lead

Posted on October 24 2013, 10:30:00 AM | Posted by jtcpals

What:  Following a child’s lead is an easy and effective way for parents of children with hearing loss to encourage language. Parents can join in whatever the child is doing and let him decide what to do next. Then the child is likely to explore more, make discoveries and have experiences that are meaningful to him. Parents can offer language, speech and actions to build on the child’s interests and encourage communication. In this way the child’s language development is fostered and he may begin to include new words and ideas in his play.

Why:  As you follow your child’s lead, you can encourage listening, speech, language and thinking.  Both you and your child benefit because: 

  • Leading allows your child to develop his curiosity. Following allows you to learn how your child is thinking. 
  • Leading allows your child to expand his exploration. Following allows you to add words or concepts to your child’s play.
  • Leading allows your child to decide what to do within an activity.  Following allows you to encourage turn taking.
  • Leading allows your child to choose to use your ideas or not! Following allows you to listen to your child.  
  • Leading allows your child to include the speech you modeled for him. Following allows you to show he is understood.
  • Leading allows your child to increase his communication. Following allows you to discover your child’s interests and share in his fun!

How:  If your baby is crawling toward a favorite ball, follow his lead and get down on his level saying “Oh, you want your soft ball. Let’s roll the ball back and forth!” Your response may encourage him to use his voice or engage in the short game with you.  When he decides to play differently, follow his lead to enjoy other activities but include new words and actions.

If you keep books within your toddler’s reach he can pick a story to explore with you. You can follow his lead by listening to him tell the story, talking about the pictures he points to or commenting on his favorite pages. “There is the loud motorcycle.  Zooom, it is going fast.” When he changes the topic you can follow his lead for what he is interested in discussing.
If your preschooler plays in sand, you can follow his lead describing what he is doing by saying, “Dig, dig, dig. That is a big hole you are making with the little shovel.” You might admire his mounds, count his buckets or let him tell you what to build and how to do it. When you wait to follow his lead, he can use language to expand and explain his imagination and thinking.

If your child seems to be interested in a household routine, follow his lead and involve him in helping. You might say “Please help me make lunch. What should we put in the lunch box?” You might discuss when to prepare certain foods, how they taste and what his favorite foods are. When you follow his lead, he can choose how much to help and problem solve how to do it.

When:  Look for opportunities daily to follow a child’s lead. While there are some tasks that must be done quickly or a certain manner, there are many activities that can be done together in a flexible and fun way.  By following a child’s lead, parents can encourage listening, language and speech in shared activities that encourage interaction, initiative and independence.  

Download a PDF version of Follow Their Lead.

Read Follow Their Lead in Spanish.

Encouraging Language and Speech

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