As a parent of a child with hearing loss, you may feel even more challenged right now in keeping him or her busy with activities that continue to support cochlear implant hearing therapy needs. Cochlear wants to help with relieving that burden by providing you with suggestions and guidance essential for the development of speech, language and auditory skills.
Set the Mindset
First off, you must remember that you are not in this alone-we are all in this together. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you manage the stress, keep the peace and stay engaged with cochlear implant hearing therapy activities to support the development of your child’s hearing and speech.
Keep a routine
Setting and sticking to a regular schedule is key, even when you’re all at home all day. Eat and go to bed at normal times. Try and schedule homeschooling around the times they would normally be in school. Consistency and structure can be calming during times of stress. Like adults, kids benefit from knowing what’s going to happen and when. It may help to develop a schedule or lesson plan for the day or even the week; print it out and review it each morning.
Set a timer or have some type of notification to help you and your kids to know when one activity is ending and another will begin. Add some fun to this—maybe a timer that has a funny alarm such as a rooster crowing or donkey braying.
Be creative about new activities — and exercise
Incorporate new activities into the daily routine, like doing a puzzle or having game time. Talk about how to pick the correct puzzle piece. This strengthens your child’s listening skills. Read the rules of the game aloud before starting. Have your child respond back about the rules to ensure they are correctly identifying what you read, and their comprehension is accurate. Such interaction shapes expressive and receptive language capability.
Build in activities that help everyone get some exercise (without contact with other kids or things touched by other kids like playground equipment). Take a daily family walk or bike ride and talk about what you see and most importantly what is heard. Point out new objects and introduce them to your child. If appropriate, have the child provide feedback about the object. Maybe you see a bright colored bird in a tree. Have your child listen to the sounds the bird is making. Can they hear those sounds? Can they repeat the sound? For very small children, have them point to the bird when they hear the tweeting sound. Look for ways to keep your child active and allow them to burn off some energy. Utilize these activities to reinforce and enrich their listening and speech development.
A quick search of the internet will also reveal lots of virtual experiences that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. Zoo and aquarium web cams, museum tours, concerts, and much more are at our fingertips now more than ever. Watch these and talk about the different sounds they heard or allow them to tell you a story about what they saw. What was their favorite animal at the zoo? What sound does it make? Develop picture cards or flash cards to support the conversation, especially with younger children.
David Anderson, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, also recommends brainstorming ways to go “back to the 80s,” before the time of screen prevalence. He suggests that parents think about their favorite activities at summer camp or at home before screens. This will help to generate ideas for arts and crafts activities, science projects, imaginary games, musical activities, board games, household projects, etc. Be creative and open-minded. The simplest of activities, coupled with a speech enriched environment, can have a tremendous impact on your child’s hearing and speech progression.
For more information and guidance on choosing appropriate cochlear implant hearing therapy activities, toys and games to support auditory skill development for your child, download Cochlear’s Fun and Games brochure today.