Learning to listen is like building with blocks –
one skill stacks on another.
Once your baby has hearing aids or cochlear implants, it is time to learn to listen in new ways and lay a foundation for the development of spoken language.
Following are 4 important steps in auditory learning (adapted from
Cole & Flexer, 2011): Your family-infant teacher will work with you to build your child's listening skills one block at a time during your natural daily interactions.
Suppose there is a knock at the door – you can
point to your ear and say, "I hear that!"
Peek a boo gives a fun opportunity to play with names. "Where's Ella?" (from behind the blanket). As soon as devices go on…"Good morning, Ella! Hi Ella…Ella, that's you!"
This encourages your child to listen and "tune in" on what you are saying. If you use the routine over and over again, what you are saying will start to make sense. This helps the infant start to understand what you mean.
Show interest and say the same sounds back. Pause and wait – this encourages the little one to take another turn.
For example, a little boy has heard his daddy say "UUUUP" with a fun intonation every time he tosses him in the air. After lots of practice listening….it clicks! Next time dad asks, "Wanna play up?" you may see an excited response, anticipation of this fun game, and in recognition of the new word.
Use the 3 P's.
Now you are off and running! Continue to foster listening in natural ways by challenging your child to take the next step. Hold high expectations and give strategic opportunities to listen.
Your child is expressing words, phrases and maybe sentences – what a rewarding time! This is what you have been working for! Listening skills are supporting the child's language learning!
Follow your child's lead. Respond to what the child says and means.
Know what your child can do and expect a little more: If your child can follow an instruction with two ideas (please grab
the keys and
your shoes), go for more. "Can you get my blue purse, your goggles, and your brother's floaties?"