There is a great deal of research which shows that children who use technology 10 or more hours/day develop better language and learning skills than children who use technology less than 10 hours/day. Audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and teachers need to help families understand why it is critical to keep technology on full time. In addition, families need to help grandparents, other family members and day care staff understand why keeping technology on all day is critical.
These conversations need to be repeated multiple times to be effective. Not everyone gets it the first time they hear it. Many people need to hear things multiple times to understand the issues. When a child is first identified, parents are overwhelmed and may not hear the information the first time. The same can be said of day care staff. Although they may know a lot about infants and young children, they likely do not know anything about children with hearing loss.
Just like new parents they are likely overwhelmed. There are lots of children with lots of needs. We need to help parents, day care and school staff unde4rstand why it is critical to keep technology on.
Things I discuss with families
1) What is your goal for your child? Where do you want your child to be when they are 5, 10, 15, 20 years old?
Most families say that they want their children to be able to go to school with their siblings and be able to do whatever they want to do. The next question is how to achieve their goals.
2) What does it take to achieve the goals?
The initial goals are early identification, appropriately fit technology provides sufficient auditory access to learn language, using technology 10 or more hours/day, auditory based language therapy.
3) Why technology needs to be worn 10 or more hours per day?
Children with hearing within normal limits are hearing 24 hours/day. Children with hearing loss only hear language when they are wearing appropriately set technology. If a child with hearing loss wears technology for 4 hours/day, it will take that child 6 years to hear what a child with typical hearing hears in one year. Research by the Boys Town group has shown that children who wear technology 10 or more hours a day have better language than children who do not.
If a child is not wearing technology, they do not get exposure to language. The early years are the most critical time to learn language. If a child is not wearing technology enough in the early years, the child will get behind and it may be very difficult for the child to catch up.
4) What do children need to hear?
It takes a lot of repletion for children to learn new words and concepts. They need to hear family members, siblings, other children, other people around them in order to develop language.
Typical hearing children hear about 45,000 words by the time they are 4 (Hart and Risley, 1994). Children with hearing loss need to have technology on at least 10 hours/day if they are the possibility of hearing what a child with typical hearing ears by the time they are 4.
We can do it!!
Clinicians can help parents understand how important technology is. Parents, with the help of professionals, can help care givers understand. Bringing people into the audiology test booth to show everyone what the child responds to with and without technology is often very helpful. Inviting parents, grandparents, babysitters, day care staff to observe the evaluation definitely helps. It also offers everyone the opportunity to ask questions directly.
JUST DO IT!!!!!