Welcome back for the third day of “150 in 5”! I know I promised a guest blogger today, but life happened, so that’s going to come tomorrow. And I know you’re going to love her post, so be sure to come back then. If this is your first visit this week, you can read more about “150 in 5” here - but here it is in a nutshell... My daughter and her family are in the process of adopting a little boy in China who is profoundly deaf. She’s handcrafting and selling necklaces to help cover the high cost of the adoption. And she’s offering a great giveaway this week!
I hope you’ll help my daughter reach her goal, either by purchasing a necklace, or spreading the word on social media!
Today I’d like to share a bit with you about childhood deafness. As many of you know, my youngest granddaughter (age 2) was born almost totally deaf.
|There's a big "hi" from Emmy!|
Amazingly enough, they discovered this fact before she ever left the hospital! Tennessee has a very good early intervention program, and she has progressed incredibly well. It turned out that she was a good candidate for cochlear implants, and she received her first cochlear implant at the age of eight months and the second one a month later. Nowadays we are entertained by her belting out “Let It Go” at the top of her lungs!
Here are some facts I’ve learned recently...
About 2 to 3 out of every 1000 children in the US are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. Nine out of every ten children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear.
|Here you can see the lights on Emmy's|
implants that let us know the
battery is almost dead!
As of December 2012, approximately 324,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants; in the U.S., roughly 58,000 adults and 38,000 children are recipients. The vast majority are in developed countries due to the high cost of the device, surgery and post-implantation therapy. A small but growing segment of recipients have bilateral implants for hearing stereo sound (one implant in each cochlea).
Cochlear implants for congenitally deaf children are considered to be most effective when implanted at a young age, during the critical period in which the brain is still learning to interpret sound.
|"I really don't want to listen to you|
right now, so here are my processors!"
Despite the fact that Emmy has cochlear implants, it is still necessary to teach her sign language for the times when she is not wearing them. (Like when she takes them off to avoid hearing you, as above!) Believe me - the signs for “no” and “stop” are important with a two year old around! But she is also getting quite a vocabulary in American Sign Language, and actually taught me the words for “boy” and “girl” the other day! This is all part of her speech therapy sessions, so she is essentially learning two languages at once!
For various reasons, children who are profoundly deaf tend to develop slower physically than hearing children, so in addition to speech therapy, Emmy has been attending physical therapy sessions since she was a few months old. Part of Tennessee’s early intervention program, this is all done towards getting her on an equal footing with her peers before she reaches school age.
And just an interesting fact - teaching any child a second language has been shown to increase cognitive performance in overall basic skills in elementary school. According to the College Entrance Examination Board, they go on to score higher on SATs. Children who learn a second language at a young age also exhibit better problem-solving skills, enhanced spatial relations, and heightened creativity. Learning a second language early on encourages flexible thinking and communication skills, helping children consider issues from more than one perspective.
American Sign Language (ASL) is considered a second language too! If you have young (pre-speech) children in your life, try teaching them simple words like more, milk, eat, sleep - you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to find out what they want and you’ll want to teach them more! There are videos available on YouTube that can show you how to sign many words… many are very simple and logical. For example, the sign for "milk" is to use both hands like you are milking a cow!
So now you can see what I've been doing for the past two years - learning a new language - and what we'll be doing when my daughter and her family bring home our Chinese grandson! It's a lot of work and lots to learn, but it's so rewarding when you see the results - like a child belting out a song that, without cochlear implants, she never would have heard. I wish I had a video of Emmy singing - but it's still so new I just sit and listen in awe, only remembering too late to turn on the video!
And this will be the last "informational" blog post for the week - be sure to come back tomorrow for our guest blogger's really interesting quilt-related post! I'm so excited to see what she's going to share.
And now I'll leave you with a little American Sign Language…
PS - if you're looking to see who won the AMB Blog Hop giveaway, click here!