Monday, October 26, 2009

Trusting your ears

I observe my daughter more as a speech language pathologist than a mom. I have no formal training in that capacity, but I've been the leading advisor to the educational team. I take the responsibility very seriously. She's achieved her speech goals and the time is coming when I'll have to let go of analyzing her listening/speaking skills. Just not yet.

I've stumbled on a a new problem that will probably self-correct, as many do. She is over-confident in her hearing. She hears something and that is what was said. She'll even argue with me now. "Mommy, I heard you, you said..." She lacks the experience to match up a half heard word to the list of possible choices.

This came to my top-of-mind awareness on Thursday when she met a little girl on the playground. I could hear my Julia say, "Harmen, that's an interesting name." The girl's name was Carmen. Julia is growing up in a new age where someone probably has named their child Harmen, but it occurs to me that maybe she doesn't question what she's heard because she still thinks any combination of consonants and vowels can be a word. She might not know what it means, but it could be a word.

Yesterday she was repeating the instructions on the GPS. "Turn right on Stupid, Bill, Bike," she said. "No sweetie, it's Steubenville Pike," I tell her. "Stupid Bill, PIKE," she says.

We're very fortunate that Julia's hearing problem is just a matter of volume. Her scores have always been perfect on the sound discrimination tests she takes at her audiologist visits. There is no distortion when her hearing aids amplify sound. The current issue seems to be more of a social conditioning problem.

So now I'll set out to gently draw her attention to situations when it's tough to hear all the sounds a person is saying. We'll continue to teach her to ask someone to repeat what she hasn't entirely heard. And I'll hope not to destroy her confidence in her hearing ability.

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