When my little Kendall was born, we were told that she has mild to moderate hearing loss. It took hours and hours of testing with multiple audiologists to figure this out, but it didn’t come as a complete shock. My husband has similar hearing loss, his cousin has dramatic hearing loss and her son also has hearing loss in both ears.
The local County of Education quickly stepped in to offer their services: speech, sign language, special education – all in our own home at no cost. Apparently if your child is born with hearing loss, these are services that are offered free of charge no matter your income. While I was very grateful for the services, I disagreed with much of it. By the second or third in-home session, I became very irritated with the fact that they were telling me that my child would need special education and that she would quickly fall behind with her speech and development. Her hearing loss is very mild and we were shown a “banana chart” of the sounds she would struggle with. In a nutshell, we were told by our audiologist that she would just miss little subtleties in speech but overall she would be just fine. Especially since we bought her Phonak hearing aids. We were providing her with a tool to help her hear as if she has no hearing loss.
I battled with my husband on whether or not to cancel in-home services for Kendall. My gut was telling me that my child was going to be just fine and that I didn’t need people constantly telling her she has a disability. My husband has dealt with moderate hearing loss his entire life and has done just fine. He and Kendall have very similar loss so he has really helped me understand what she most likely can and can’t hear well.
When it came time for my husband and I to tell the special education teachers that we wanted to discontinue their services, we got an ear full. We listened to all of the reasons why our child would struggle (in their opinion) and why she needed these services. I did my best to bite my tongue during this meeting and let my husband do most of the talking and debating. What the teachers didn’t know was that my husband has hearing loss and has dealt with it his entire life. Once he sprang that little doozy on them, they started back pedaling. The meeting ended pretty soon after that and I walked away feeling settled.
Coping with Childhood Hearing Loss
As a parent with a child with hearing loss, I feel like it’s my responsibility to provide her with the tools she needs to excel in life. But she doesn’t need people in her corner telling her that she’s any less than any of her peers. It was definitely difficult to discontinue the special education services because these ladies were so nice. They were so down-to-earth and did nothing but play with us, but like I said, my gut (and my audiologist) were telling me it was time to end it.
I do a lot of research and have lots of hand-outs from the local County of Education that explain baby milestones. I like to be ahead of the game by knowing which milestones she should be hitting with her speech and hearing before we get to specific ages. We have always done a lot of singing in our home, even when Charlotte was a baby. I notice that singing songs or repeating words help my little ones learn them easier and make it more fun for all of us.
12-18 Month Hearing and Speech Milestones
- Uses 10 or more words
- Follows simple spoken direction, “get the ball”
- Points to people, body parts or toys when asked
- “Bounces” to music
18-24 Month Hearing and Speech Milestones
- Uses 20 or more words
- Combines 2 or more words, “more juice,” “what’s that?”
- Uses many different consonant sounds at beginning of words, b, g, m
- Listens to simple stories and songs
Since Kendall was born, and I mean right away, I could tell she was musical. I would catch her making beats on a box, on the wall, or on anything that makes sound. She’s constantly singing and moving her hands and loves to dance. She loves to play the piano with me and sing along with her sister as they watch musical movies. She’s hitting all of the milestones mentioned above at just 15-months old and is even hitting speech and hearing milestones that two and three year olds should be hitting. She uses two and three word sentences like “Paci, [where] are you?” “Hi dadda!” “Let it go, let it go (from Frozen)” and so much more. We can understand her about 25% of the time when she tries to form sentences and she’s very capable of getting her point across without having to necessarily throw fits. She follows two-step instructions very well like “get the ball and put it on the table” and tries her hardest to keep up with her four-year old sister.
Learning Toys for 14 Month Olds
Kendall is a very nurturing child and loves to carry her stuffed animals around like babies. She’ll hold them and say “ahhh, my baby” and gives them kisses and hugs. So, we use her stuffed animals to teach her animal sounds, animal names and colors. Four of her favorite stuffed animals are from Steiff, the classic heirloom Teddy Bear brand. They are safe for her to play with and are just the right size for her little hands.
We also really love wooden toys, puzzles and musical toys. Check out some of our other articles below:
Coping with childhood hearing loss is different for every family. We will most likely have struggles along the way but are fully ready and capable of working through them.
Do you have a child with hearing loss? Please share any tips or comments below!