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the early weeks and months of your baby's life, you and
your baby will make many discoveries about how to connect.
Your animated face and voice will bring consistent smiles
from her. Your baby will kick and move her arms to show
she is excited to see you. She will look into your eyes,
listen to your voice and watch intently as your facial expressions
change. These enjoyable social interactions are the first
step in your communication journey together.
the first eight months of life, babies are learning how
to pay attention to those around them and how to engage
in social routines with others. This early social-emotional
development is a main building block for communication.
Interactions we think of as "baby games" are essential
for getting communication started. When babies engage with
others, they regularly respond with warmth, smiles and an
expectation that "this is going to be fun." This
happens as early as three to four months of age and makes
parenting a rewarding adventure.
on image to view movie
is an example of a daddy and his 4-month-old baby girl.
Notice how intently she watches him. They fall into a nice
rhythm of taking turns. Daddy smiles or talks and the baby
"answers" with her voice and facial expressions.
it's daddy's turn to respond again. You can sense
the warmth between them.
is a lot like a friendly game of volleyball or tennis. The
ball goes back and forth between partners. They get into
a nice rhythm. They try not to hog the ball. They enjoy
each other's company. Getting ready to communicate with
your baby is just like this
enjoying each other, getting
into a rhythm and taking social turns. Keep in mind that
each baby is unique
what delights one will quiet another.
Trust your instincts as you work to find a rhythm that is
comfortable for you and your baby. The pleasure you two
share will give your baby a sense of security and motivate
her to learn.
You might be thinking…."what is so special about all of this? Isn't this what moms and dads do with any baby?" You are right. Communication with your deaf or hard of hearing baby will start in much the same way as it does with any baby. The message you want to communicate with your face, voice and body is, "we love you…let's have some fun together."
You can follow some simple guidelines as you get started with your wee little one:
closely. What is your baby's mood? Try to get into a rhythm
that matches your baby's mood. If the baby fusses, you
can respond with a sympathetic face and soothing voices.
If she smiles, use an animated face and voice in response.
the baby to look at your face and listen to you. The baby
will be interested in looking at you if you use various
facial expressions and play social games that build anticipation.
Vary your vocal inflections (like we normally do in baby
talk) to encourage the baby to begin to listen to your
your baby. Parents tell us that it can be hard to focus
on typical baby routines when they are worrying about
the hearing loss. It can really help to talk with other
parents and discover the enjoyment they have found as
they gain more perspective on the hearing loss. Other
parents can reassure you that "it's going to be all
right." Focusing on this message, you can relax a
bit and enjoy your little one.