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Author Archive | Christopher W. Borsellino, MA Ed of Deaf, MS/CCC-SLP

So what is it? Signing or talking?

Hearing is often associated with speech in that initial communication and hence understanding, arises primarily from learning spoken language through listening. This is why speech therapy is a must for people with hearing impairment as well as complete involvement from the child’s family to help facilitate that child’s development.  However, we need to remember that one size does not fit all.

I am a big believer in developing the auditory and oral (spoken) skills of children with who have a hearing loss but I also feel that there is room for sign language if needed.  I am a realist. I do not think that one approach is the answer. One of the most frequent questions I am asked concerning the development of a child with a hearing loss is if their child learns sign language while trying to teach them to “learning to listen”, will that prohibit them from developing their auditory and oral skills. I tell them the answer is not so simple. Many variables come into play and there is no clear cut answer. My experience with teaching the deaf and providing services for children with hearing losses has shown me that the child will decided what is the easiest way to communicate is. I believe that if the child is implanted early enough during the first year of their life, the chances are that using sign language will not be an option, since these children often develop the necessary auditory skills to learn how to speak. On the flip side, I have seen many children who have were implanted later on or were aided with hearing aids and their preferred choice of communication is using sign or both. Each child is different and like I stated before, their choice of communication is based upon many variables.

In my practice I work with a range of children and adults who have a hearing impairment. Some have developed the skills to communicate successfully verbally, while others due to late implantation or hearing aid fitting, are trying to develop their auditory/oral skills but prefer to use sign as their primary mode of communication. I try to educate my families and let them know that communication is the ultimate goal. Do I support teaching child and adults to develop their auditory/oral skills to their fullest potential, of course I do, but I also support development of communication in any means possible.

By on September 19, 2011 in Hearing Impairment

Week of Achievements!

Over the years as an educator and speech therapist working with the Deaf/HH, one of the most troubling factors I have experienced is the lack of parental involvement in the educational process, specifically; the speech and language development of their child. I have had the opportunity to work with many parents who are invested in helping their child reach their maximum potential, but there were still many who did not seem to care…even now, with my own practice, I am amazed at how some of the parents of my clients do not feel that they have to do anything.

I wonder why?

I have thought about this for years and I use to question my abilities as a teacher/therapist. Was I doing something wrong? Why did it appear they didn’t care? Was I not clear in my delivery of instruction or parent workshops? What was it?

I realized after reflecting upon this question many times, that it wasn’t me specifically or the parents…it was both of us. They had to buy into what I was doing or else it was just like Simser said in her article from an unknown author:

Tell me and I will forget
Show me and I may remember
Involve me and I will understand.

By on May 8, 2011 in General

Parents and AV Therapy

Over the years as an educator and speech therapist working with the Deaf/HH, one of the most troubling factors I have experienced is the lack of parental involvement in the educational process, specifically; the speech and language development of their child. I have had the opportunity to work with many parents who are invested in helping their child reach their maximum potential, but there were still many who did not seem to care…even now, with my own practice, I am amazed at how some of the parents of my clients do not feel that they have to do anything.

I wonder why?

I have thought about this for years and I use to question my abilities as a teacher/therapist. Was I doing something wrong? Why did it appear they didn’t care? Was I not clear in my delivery of instruction or parent workshops? What was it?

I realized after reflecting upon this question many times, that it wasn’t me specifically or the parents…it was both of us. They had to buy into what I was doing or else it was just like Simser said in her article from an unknown author:

Tell me and I will forget
Show me and I may remember
Involve me and I will understand.

By on April 30, 2011 in General

Auditory-Verbal Intervention: Infants and Toddlers

I am in the middle of my certification process for becoming an Auditory Verbal Therapist. During this time I have been reading many articles that are required readings, one by Judith Simser, who discusses the how and why parents participate in the AV approach as well as the components of the therapy sessions. These therapy sessions are outlined and the techniques are escribed for to help develop listening skills, language , and speech production ( all which is really communication) in infants adn toddlers.
Though this article is dated, 1993, the discussion of AV programs and its practice with children with hearing impairments still holds many theories and practices that are used today to help develop the skills of children with and without hearing losses. What I like about this article is that it stresses the importance of parental involvment, by teaching them how to create an audtiory learning environment for their child to develop spoken language, by non other using listening situations during nateral and meaningful communication.
The author stresses that parents need to be involved…(Involve me and I will understand) instead of the tell me and I will forget approach. Are there any therapist out there that would like to share thier personal experiences with parents being involved or not?

By on April 24, 2011 in General

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: A Definition

So what is the difference between being deaf and or being hard of hearing? Throughout my career as an educator of the Deaf/HH and a speech therapist, I have been asked that question many times by parents and other professionals. What is it? I can give you my definition of what they are and what they aren’t, however, there are many layers to discuss to help answer that question, but the ultimate definition of being deaf or hard of hearing is not as simple as it would appear. Let me take a shot at this and feel free to tell me what you think.

Medically, the definition depends on how many decibels of hearing loss you have. A loss that is less than profound is generally considered hard of hearing.

Some people who view deafness by the functional definition think that if a person is deaf but uses hearing aids, they function in society like a person who is hard of hearing.

According to the cultural definition and people in the Deaf Culture, being deaf or hard of hearing has nothing to do with how much you can hear! It has to do with how you identify yourself to society. Do you identify more closely with hearing people or with deaf people? Some medically hard of hearing people that I taught in the public school system or currently work with in my clinic consider themselves culturally Deaf. Others consider themselves Hard of Hearing.

According to a site I read and forgive me I am unable to remember where I got this from but according to the site they posed the question: “ Are people with cochlear implants whose hearing losses are reduced to as little as 20 db hard of hearing or deaf? In my opinion, the answer is, “both.” The author of that site says both because “when a person has the implant on and can hear that well, they are hard of hearing. When the implant is off and they can-not hear anything, they are deaf.” I agree with this for the most part, but the ultimate decision is the individual themselves who possesses the hearing loss and how they view themselves in our society based upon their personal experiences.

By on August 2, 2010 in General