Thursday, February 25, 2010

Teaching by Senses

I just had a great session with Kids on the Move.
(Lincoln qualified for services due to his hearing problems), 
but he is getting tubes next Tuesday! (cheering).

As we were setting his goals, we were focusing mostly on Speech and Language.
Because Lincoln cant hear, we have an inability to communicate (if babies don't hear you speak, they don't learn to talk).
He absolutely loves signing time videos, but he hasn't picked up on any signs, 
so he isn't able to communicate that way either.
In my mind, nothing could be done until he got tubes.

Marsha Lima, my good friend and employee of KOTM, taught me a valuable lesson:

Teaching by Senses
This particular experience is regarding Receptive Language (communication your child 'receives'),
but is a great tool for teaching in any area:

Kids learn best 
when they are able to experience something  
using all of their senses:


Since Lincoln isn't able to hear, we focused on communicating through other senses.
We brought out a few toy balls to start.
Lincoln was able to see the ball, touch the ball, and because he puts everything in his mouth he could taste the ball.
While he was observing, I would repeatedly say and sign "ball".
I feel the need to emphasize the importance of repetition.
We did this over and over again.

Our main goal is to make Lincoln's process of 'catching up' easier.
Once he is able to hear, if he already knows what an object/word is; whether it be what is looks like, how it sounds, what the sign is, what it tastes like, smells like, etc., it will be that much easier for him to connect the object with the word/sound.

Another important element is to try it with things/objects that he shows interest in.
The longer your child stays interested, the more time you will have for repetition.

The next morning, we got a toy car that winds up and drives by itself in one of our cereal boxes.
I let Lincoln hold it, and let him watch as I wound it up and it wheeled around the kitchen.
He thought it was pretty awesome.
I repeatedly said 'car', as I signed the word.
After two or three tries, Lincoln actually made fists and excitedly moved them around.
(You sign 'car' by making fists and moving them like they are clenching a steering wheel).
We did it over and over again.
Each time the car would stop, he would look at me and shake his fists, with a big smile on his face.

I was naturally excited, and so was he.
For the first time it felt like we were actually communicating.

I put the car away for a few hours.
When I showed it to him later that day, he came running, waving his little fists.

So... if you are struggling to teach your little one something, 
I would recommend trying to incorporate the idea of sensory teaching.
Either way, I thought it was worth sharing.

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