Dear Lipreading Mom,
Any tips on how to understand kids' voices when I help out at school and church?
Looking for Options
Because my sensorineural hearing loss makes it difficult for me to understand a child’s delicate voices, someone must come alongside me to repeat or explain what the child has spoken. I call this person a hearing helper. Some of the ways in which this person helps:
* Pulls me aside to slowly repeat a child’s comment or question
* Writes down information spoken by the child, such as their name if a new student
* Assists with behind-the-scene tasks, like gathering supplies, so I can focus on each child
* Reminds children to use quiet voices and hands to prevent unnecessary background noise
* Encourages children to face me when speaking so I can lip read them
* Gives one-on-one attention to special needs children who are mainstreamed in the class
Two times a month, I teach Sunday school class with kindergarteners and a rotating base of helpers. Usually there are one to two assistants with me in each class. While their primary function is to assist with Sunday school class preparation and hands-on instruction, they are so much more to me. Hearing helpers are my ears, hands, lips, and feet. They allow me to be involved in my daughter’s classroom and get to know her friends. Without them, I would struggle to understand everything my students say.
As I shared with one of the parents when she picked up her son one Sunday, it takes a team effort to lead a class. You might ask someone already in the school or church to be your hearing helper. You would be doing yourself a favor---and giving that person the important job of keeping you involved with the kids.
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Shanna Groves was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss after the birth of her first child. She was 27. Raised in a hearing family, Shanna traces her hearing loss to a genetic loss on the paternal side of her family. She is mom to three young children, a published author, and speaker. Her books are featured at www.ShannaGroves.com. Shanna blogs about being a hard of hearing mom at http://LipreadingMom.com.