At the beginning, when it wasn't certain our child doesn't hear, we were advised to seek hearing rehabilitation. That word meant something different to me back then – I associated it with difficult activities and hard exercises. I didn't know where to go, because none of the doctors could tell us where to look. I started searching for it on the Internet and fortunately managed to find where those classes take place. The closest ones I found and visited were at the Echo Foundation, the Institute for the Deaf in Warsaw and Kajetany. We've started attending those classes when Hela was five months old. Since then, I have thought differently about the word “rehabilitation” - now it means enjoyable time with my child, great progress with her development and new ideas for playtime. I think all kids would find that kind of activity helpful, in my opinion they boost the kid's development and strengthen its ties with parents. Let me present you the games that the tutors had shown us:
The CHILDRENS' games that encourage the development of hearing
Age 0-24 months
We show the kid the pictures of the closest family and ask: where is mom, where is dad, where is your sister etc, we try to help the kid show the right person on the photo.
THERE, NOT THERE
We show the kid some toy, for example the duck and say that “the duck is yellow, the duck swims and does QUACK QUACK”, then we hide the toy in the box or under a piece of cloth. We say: “The duck's not there”, while showing that by opening our hands. Then we encourage the child to open the box or pull the sheet, while saying “ooooo”, then when the toy appears we say “aaaaa”.
I downloaded this song from the internet. We make the kid sit on our lap before the mirror, then we do the activities the teller says (we wave hands, pat the belly etc).
ANIMALS AND ONOMATOPOEIAE
We show them animals, preferably figurines of them and mimic the sound they make, also tell facts about them (for example if they can swim or fly or jump), show where they have eyes or tails etc. After a few times we ask the child where some specified animal is, make her show the figurine or at least look at it.
THE MUSIC PLAYS
We turn on the music, then we dance with the kid in our arms, then we turn it off, stop and say “gone”, while opening our arms, then we turn it on and dance again. We can use instruments instead of music. TODDLER'S MUSIC series is a good choice.
WE FEED THE HAND PUPPET
We need a puppet or some toy character and the food – it can be typical toy food (Ikea has great supply of those). The puppet asks for something to eat, like an apple, a banana or an egg etc. - the child gives it the specified food. More difficult form of this game is when we have 2-3 puppets ot characters, then for example we ask the kid to “give the banana to the bear” or “give the apple to the dolly” etc.
We need a few pairs of various items, like two autos, two balls, two toy horses, two ducks, etc. First we show the single toy and describe it (for example:
PICTURES TO THINGS
We need pictures showing things that we have. First we tell the kid what's on the picture, then we place all of them close to each other, then we ask the kid to match the things with the pictures showing them.
PUTTING IN AT SOUND
When hearing some specific sound, for example a drum, the kid has to put one block into the bucket. After a dozen times it will finally learn how to play and should be able to recognize the sound.
SMALL – BIG
We need similar things in different sizes, for example small and big balls, small and big autos etc. First take the big toys and place them close to each other, then we give the kid the small ones and ask to group them together. After that we ask to give us some of those, like big dolly, small auto etc.
We have differently colored small containers: red, blue, yellow and green. We show the kid which color is which, then we ask it them to put the blocks into the containers of the same color.
WE DRESS THE BEAR
It's the magnetic bear toy which can get dressed in a set of clothes with magnets. We ask the kid to put some pants on it, glasses, hat etc.
VOWELS We need letters printed on A4 paper sheets. We show them to the kid while saying the vowel. Then we put the papers down and ask the kid to give us the sheet with specified letter.
WHAT WAS THAT?
We need three musical instruments for this one. We place them before us, cover kid's eyes, then we play one of the instruments. We ask: “What was that?” and the kid has to guess which instrument was played.
It's a peculiar game. There's CD and cards of a bear, doing some activities. We show the pictures, one by one and tell what's happening there. Then we show the right card with corresponding sound from the CD. We repeat it with a few pictures, then we place them in front of the child and play one of their sounds. We ask the kid to listen and then select the correct card. We start with three cards at one time, then we add more and more.
Nice toy that allows the child to find out more about body parts. Together with the kid we pin the right parts in the right places, put clothes on it, while telling the child about their functions. Then we ask the kid to give us a particular element.
Together with the kid we assemble 1, 2 and 3-element puzzle. We talk about every picture that we assemble.
We need a doll and some accessories, like a little brush, baby carriage, bed, plate, spoon, diaper, clothes. Together with the child we play with the doll, we feed her, brush, go for a walk, change the diapers, put to beed etc. During all those activities we encourage the kid to act, we tell what we do and see if they understand all activities we tell them to do.
WHAT FLIES, WHAT SWIMS, WHAT DRIVES
We get three pictures/photos: street, sky, water. We also need two swimming vehicles, two driving ones etc. We show a vehicle and ask “where does the auto go?”. It drives, so we put it on the picture of a street. Then we show them the ship and ask the a similar question, then put it on water, then the plane of course on the air photo.
(foam vehicles) – plane, ship, boat, chopper, auto
This game builds focus and attention. We put around ten different things and we ask the child to give us two of them “Give me the doll and the duck”, while extending both hands. If the child gives us only one thing, we show that the hand is empty and ask for the correct toy.
WHOSE HOUSE IS IT?
We teach the kid where the animals live, we show it in pictures. Then we ask them to match houses with correct animals (dog – kennel, cat – basket, wasp – hive, fish – aquarium, bird – birdhouse etc)
You can buy such 4-picture stories at a good prices. We describe everything in every picture, then we mix them all up and ask the child to arrange them in the right order.