Book Study

Chapter 1 Summary

Brought to you by Marie Fisher:

Connections:  The author, Dana Suskind suggests that parent talk is the most valuable resource in this world no matter your race, culture, language etc.

My Story: Dr. Suskind decided to peruse her fascination of the brain through the ear and became a cochlear impact surgeon. The timing was ironic because in 1993 NIH set recommendations for all newborns to undergo hearing evaluation before leaving the hospital. The age of diagnosis changed from 3 years to 3 months.

The Cochlear Implant: In 1990 a multichannel cochlear implant allowed for complex speech processing. This timing was significant because children’s hearing loss was now being detected and possibly corrected via cochlear implant at an age when the brain pathways for language were being created. Before the NIH’s recommendations for newborn hearing screenings changed, children’s hearing loss was often not detected until age 3 and at that point the brain has completed 85% of its physical growth. Physical brain development and language development coincide. Children born deaf and implanted later in life will hear sounds but will rarely gain the ability to understand the meanings associated with the words they hear.

The Advantage of Starting Slowly: Dr. Suskind started a cochlear implant program at the University of Chicago. Her work started slow which allowed for her to attend and observe each specific family she worked with. The things she observed ultimately sparked her curiosity for a career in social science. She worked with families facing social and economic challenges.

Zach and Michelle: Both Zach and Michelle were among Dr. Suskind’s first patients to receive cochlear implants. Zach was born profoundly deaf. His parents made him wear hearing aids, had a therapist come to the home to work on techniques with the family and the parents signed with him so he had a mode of communication before being implanted around 8 months of age. Language was embedded throughout his home life. Michelle was also born deaf and received a cochlear implant around her second birthday. Michelle’s parents had a tougher home life including unemployment. Michelle’s father also had hearing loss due to Waardenburg Syndrome.

The Significant Difference: While Zach was reading on grade level (this predicts the ultimate learning trajectory), Michelle functions in third grade with minimal spoken language and a Kindergarten reading level. Dr. Suskind and her staff toured Chicago’s schools’ hearing loss classrooms to better understand “oral” (primarily spoken language) vs.“total communication (primarily used sign language) classrooms. Michelle was in the total communication classroom. Her teacher shared that she often came to school dirty, had no lunch and difficulties communicating.

The University of Chicago A Wonderful Home: Dr. Suskind concluded that Michelle’s lack of language development had to do with the home environment to which she was born. She was determined to find out how she could help this situation for children like Michelle. She started attending Child Language Development classes at the university.

Hart and Risley: Hart and Risley were child psychologists at the University of Kansas in 1960’s. They found that the language environments for children born into affluent families differed from those born into poverty. Language exposure, not socioeconomic status, is the ultimate difference. Quality and quantity of the words a child hears is linked to educational achievement.

Thanks, Marie!

Valentine’s Day Activities

Valentine’s Day is next week!! This morning I just wanted to share a few FREE options for Valentine’s Day activities from TPT:

Graphic Organizer

Comprehension and Vocabulary

Basic Vocabulary

I have…who has?

Just a few options for you to check out! What Valentine’s Day activities do you use in your speech room?

Stuttering Resource

Today, Chelsea Graham shares a great stuttering resource she found:
I’m always on the look out for resources that highlight role models for my students who stutter. I’ve  been trying SO HARD to advocate for my students with communication difficulties. It continually frustrates me that my colleagues don’t understand how a communication disorder can impact a child in the classroom (other than a pesky R – they never miss referring kids for R!).   In addition to presentations at staff meetings, conversations during ARC’s, handouts during May’s BHSM, I also engage teachers in conversations in the staff lounge.  And it’s paying off!  Yesterday a teacher shared with me a touching moment she shared with her class, centered on a Scholastic News Weekly Reader article.  The article was titled, “The Voice of a Champion,” and was about George Springer, a baseball player who stutters. There is an accompanying video that can be accessed through the subscription (requires a username and password).

The teacher reflected on how her students were filled with compassion when they heard George shared how devastating it was, as a child, to be teased for how he talked. Then she sent me the article, with her username and password, so I could share it with my student who stutters. Yessssss!

So I thought I’d share with you all.  If you don’t have access to Scholastic News – shoot me an e-mail and I’d be happy to help you find a copy. I’ve also included a link to George Springer’s organization SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young.  This is a fairly new organization (I’d never heard of it) – and they offer a Summer Camp for children.  The fee is exorbitant ($3125!!) – but they offer a sliding scale to families based on income.

Katherine Preston, the author of Out With It, is associated with SAY.  She has a program called SAY Storytellers, where she mentors teens who stutter in the creative process to write their own story.

Thanks, Chelsea!!