Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Got to keep her "talking"!

One of the things we have been told to expect about Sophie and her hearing loss is the fact that she may go completely silent sometime in the very near future. Babbling and cooing in infants is innate, it is not learned. Babies become verbal at a very young age and their babbling and cooing eventually becomes language. However, when babies with hearing loss do not get reinforcement from their babbling, they may stop altogether. Deaf babies have even been known to cry silently! If Sophie cannot hear herself or us talking to her, she will most likely stop. We have been told that this may happen between 6 and 10 months old and we are doing everything in our power to prevent this from happening.

Part of Sophie's therapy is giving her as much visual reinforcement as possible when she babbles and coos. I do so by making excited and funny faces whenever she "talks". I also mimic the noises she makes with the hope that she hears me. Another major part of her therapy is talking to her. It sounds simple, but it is actually pretty difficult. Ideally, I should be narrating everything to her. For example:

"Sophie, let's change your diaper. Are you wet? Let me see your diaper. Oh my goodness, you are wet! Your diaper is wet! You need a new diaper. Hand Mommy a diaper. Are you ready for a clean diaper?Mommy is putting on your diaper now. Wow! We have a clean diaper!"

Let me tell you, when you apply this to everything you do in a day, it is exhausting!!! The funny faces and narrating can also look very strange to someone who has no idea what I am doing or why. I'm sure I've gotten several strange glances as I walk through the mall or the grocery store. ;)

Sophie is still pretty verbal, but that could change any day. I'm just going to continue to do my best and not get too discouraged if she does stop babbling. Sometimes it's extremely difficult when I'm tired or just not in the mood. It can be very hard to get enthusiastic, but I know I have to. If we are lucky and she never stops babbling, then her speech delay will be lessened and the hard work will have paid off!

Here is a video of Sophie blowing raspberries and "talking" to her toys. In the beginning, she *probably* even responded to her name!

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