NCELSSP-HI Newsletter

Spring 2019

North Carolina Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children With Hearing Impairments


NC Department of Public Instruction


Office of Early Learning


Website

www.NCELSSP.com


RUTH ANNE EVERETT, Director
ruth.anne.everett@esdb.dpi.nc.gov

Each child will be honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life.

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How to Make a Referral

Contact Mandy Hice, BS, ITFS
Social Worker II and Intake Coordinator

828-448-9353


mandy.hice@esdb.dpi.nc.gov

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Table of Contents

Cute Corner

Read, Read, Read

Listening, Language, Literacy: Building the Brain

Soft and Safe Spaces

Medic Alert Bracelets

Staff Development and Save the Dates

Resources and Opportunities for Families

Where Are They Now?

Director's Spotlight

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Cute Corner

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Read, Read, Read

According to the website Raising Readers, “by the time babies reach their first birthday, they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more you talk, and the more songs you sing – the more words your child will be exposed to – and the better he or she will be able to talk!” Source: https://www.kidshealth.org

A parent in the Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Hearing Impairments shared her ideas to make reading interesting and fun for her toddlers:


~When the girls are playing on the floor, she will often find toys/objects that correspond to the animals or vehicles, etc. in the books (Learning to Listen objects). She then matches these to the pictures and says their sounds as they play with them. “Here’s a car like in the book. Vroom! Vroom! Make it go!”. Some books with objects are also used at the table during meal time so they can play with them on their high chair trays.


~Mom has noticed that they show a high interest in peek-a-boo type books with flaps, along with touch and feel type books. The family uses common phrases such as, “open the flap,” “turn the page,” “pat-pat-pat” and “say bye-bye.”


~Mom has found that there are some magazines for babies/toddlers that come monthly or bimonthly in the mail. Highlights Hello is the one that the girls receive. They are made of durable, safe pages that the girls can explore on their own or with family. (Baby Bug is another magazine made just for little ones just learning to handle books.)


~The girls also enjoy songs and nursery rhymes related to pictures in books. For example, Mom will sing “Old MacDonald” with a farm or animal book or “Wheels on the Bus” with a book about a school bus. In addition, the family enjoys watching and listening to songs from the app Little Baby Bum Nursery Rhymes. They sing and do the motions together. The Teacher of the Deaf taught the family the strategy to pause and wait for the girls to “fill in the blank” with the next word or phrase in a familiar song. Who doesn’t love…… “Baby Shark….doo doo doo doo doo doo!?”


Check this fantastic video out for more information about Babies, Toddlers and Early Reading:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m-NqXWZsNc&feature=youtu.be
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Listening, Language, Literacy: Building the Brain Through Music Integration

Music has been found to influence a child's ability to process sound, develop language, perceive speech and acquire reading skills. Some of the ELSSP-HI teachers were fortunate to see how this happens with a workshop presented by Christine Rocca, a Music Therapist from the UK. This workshop was coordinated by Joni Alberg, Ph.D, CI Program Consultant and the Duke Hearing Center for Children and Families (DHCC&F). The participants will continue to work with Joni and DHCC&F in the weeks and months ahead. Christine wrote much of the music used. She also created the Baby Beats Program for Advanced Bionics. Th Baby Beats app is FREE to download and FREE to everyone. If you go on the Advance Bionics website type BabyBeats in the search engine. It will take you to the page where you can download the app.
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Soft and Safe Spaces

Written by Shelby Ward

Verner Center for Early Learning-Asheville, NC


Children, especially infants and toddlers, express their feelings through emotions, physical contact, and a limited, but expanding vocabulary. It is our responsibility as teachers to provide a safe and encouraging learning environment for our students. This age group really focuses on social-emotional development and developmentally appropriate ways to express and cope with their feelings.

A tool we use to help the children ground and regulate those feelings are our “Soft & Safe” spaces in the room. These are designated areas in the room where children can go if they are overwhelmed, upset, need to ground, or need to take space from others. We do not use these spaces as time out or punishment areas. We encourage the use of these spaces as part of validating their feelings and learning how to regulate them. There is no time limit given or expected when a child uses the space. It is entirely up to them as to how they want to utilize the space and their time in it.

Materials in this space are intentional and age appropriate. We have big soft pillows, padded mats, textured mats, textured tiles along the sides, fairy lights, and stuffed animals. These materials access the neurological connections (nerves and nervous system) in their brain that use these tactile, or sensory materials as a way to regulate. As the children get older, they will be able to access their cognitive thinking in relation to emotion. Spaces do not need to be elaborate. They can be as simple as pillows and plush items in the corner of the room. It is important to keep this space clear of other play materials and should be treated as a safe space. Making it part of the routine and an expectation of the classroom will help the children understand that this space has a purpose and they are free to use it when they need it.

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Arlo and the Soft and Safe Space

By his mom, Hillary Falduto

Arlo attends the Verner Center for Early Learning


As parents, we want to help our son, who has unilateral hearing loss, develop a healthy sense of self-control. My partner and I have been trying to teach our toddler, Arlo how to self-soothe from a very early age. There are many feelings that are challenging for Arlo to cope with, especially now that he’s experiencing so many new feelings and still learning how to express what he needs and wants. Self-regulating feelings and emotions is a skill that we as parents and care-givers can help our children develop. Being aware of Arlo’s hearing disorder, we want to be proactive and help him build healthy habits incase he experiences exhaustion or behavioral challenges related to his hearing disabilities. One tool we’ve tried implementing is having a spot in our home where Arlo can go to re-set. By gathering a few soft pillows and blankets, we’ve made a “soft and safe” space where he can go when he needs a break and a spot to feel all the feelings.

We first saw a soft and safe space at Arlo’s daycare. It get’s used regularly and is seen as a safe zone instead of a punishment. It’s often presented to Arlo and his peers as a choice, you can sit with your friends and wait until everyone is finished with lunch or you can hang out in soft and safe. I’m sure they have many different ways in which they utilize it throughout their busy and active days.

I happened to be cooking dinner and Arlo was frustrated that I couldn’t read a book with him, he had a moment of frustration but it quickly dissipated when soft and safe was suggested. He took his book to soft and safe and flipped through the pages while I finished cooking. There are days that he will run into his room to head for his soft and safe simply to flop his body down on the pillows.

I’m looking forward to developing new ways to use this space as we continue to grow as a family and learn more about Arlo’s needs. Sometimes I think that just knowing that it’s there provides both Arlo and us as parents a feeling of calm. It’s there when we need it!

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Medic Alert Bracelets

Families of children with cochlear implants may wish to purchase medical alert bracelets. In the event of an emergency, medical personnel would then be aware of the child’s implanted technology and hearing loss. One source for these bracelets is MedicAlert.

Thank you, to The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC for sharing the following related links:

Steps to obtain a MedicAlert bracelet for kids:

https://www.medicalert.org/product/catalog/medical-ids/youth-kids


MedicAlert charity program for families who may not be able to afford the cost of the bracelet and membership:

https://www.medicalert.org/donate/sponsored-membership

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Staff Development and Save the Dates

Save the Date

Opening ELSSP Convocation

August 13-14, 2019

Holiday Inn Raleigh - Crabtree

4100 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh

Additional Information to Follow!

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Resources and Opportunities for Families

Camp Cheerio

May 17-19

Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, the weekend is held at Camp Cheerio, a family camp with board, lodging, and recreational activities for all ages. The weekend is designed for individuals and families interested in learning strategies for spoken language and sharing experiences as they realte to hearing impairment. Cued Speech classes will also be offered during the weekend.

During this camp weekend, children are placed in age-appropriate classes where they participate in activities such as crafts, games, hiking, canoeing, archery, a hillside waterslide, and more. While the children are in their classes, parents attend educational sessions such as Cued Speech classes, advocacy training, technology updates, and presentation on raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. There will also be a young adults program course offered for adults who are in college and/or starting in the working world.

Register at:

https://springcampcheerio.org/registration/


Reading Resources

These are some great online resources for teachers and parents about the importance of reading aloud to children. Articles, activities, book lists/suggestions, and so much more!

www.reachoutandread.org

www.earlymoments.com

www.rif.org

www.readbrightly.com



HITCH-UP Parent Support Groups

These parent lead support groups provide support to parents of children with hearing loss.


Charlotte HITCH-UP

https://www.facebook.com/groups/694770480653587/

Triad HITCH-UP

(Guilford County/Greensboro Area)

https://www.facebook.com/triadhitchup.greaterguilford

Triangle Area HITCH-UP

(Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Area)

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1536664679895197/

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Where Are They Now?

Madisyn McNair: Then & Now

Submitted by her mother, Nikki McNair


On September 25th, 2012 our lives changed. We welcomed a beautiful brown eyed baby girl. She came early, fast and fierce. There were a few complications with her delivery and we believe this caused the challenges that she faces today and everyday. While in the hospital she had her hearing tested. She didn’t pass. We came back for a follow up hearing screening in October. She failed again. I was told that they could not rule out a mild to moderate hearing loss, nor could they determine if it was still fluid.


We were then referred to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill. At five months of age Madisyn went under anesthesia for the first time. Six long hours later and I had her in my arms again. At that moment, in the midst of regaining our composure, a doctor came over to me and read me the results of her test. In that moment I was given news that changed our lives forever. On March 8th, 2013 our daughter got her new “ears”.


At some point in this process our information was referred to the CDSA and Regina Dowd reached out to me. Despite my attempts to dodge dealing with this, I agreed to let her come talk to us. From there she arranged assessments, coordinated services that Madisyn needed and she guided me while I grieved. Through the next few months we met Valerie Taylor-Best who would be her Auditory Verbal Therapist, Debra Gerber who would be her Physical Therapist and she had a few Occupational Therapists. She received therapy and support to help her drink from a bottle, eat food, embrace textures, learn to listen and speak, sit up, roll over, crawl and walk (to name a few).


Then, I grieved the loss of the life we thought our daughter would have. Now, we celebrate her successes! By the age of three she no longer needed help eating. She no longer needed the use of a posterior walker. Now, she no longer wears orthotics on her ankles to support her muscle development. She no longer receives occupational or physical therapy. Today, as a kindergartener she is just like her peers. With the support of speech therapy and a teacher of the deaf, she attends a traditional kindergarten classroom. She has that same fire and spark that she did the day she was born. She uses it everyday to inspire those of us who are lucky enough to be a part of her world and watch her grow. We know in our hearts that her success today is due to her early intervention services and knowing those early years are foundational for development and future success.

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Director's Spotlight

Mary Lou Wright

Hello! I’m Mary Lou Wright. I live just outside of Weaverville, 10 minutes north of Asheville. I grew up in Rock Hill, SC and graduated in 1979 from Lenoir-Rhyne with an undergraduate degree in Deaf Education. My first-year teaching experience was in Hinton, WV. I set-up a new classroom and taught 5 girls with hearing impairments, ranging in age from 6 – 12 years old. After a year in West Virginia, I seized an opportunity to move out west, something I had always wanted to do. Colorado Springs, CO became my home for the next 19 ½ years. My first 11 years there, I taught at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB). During that time, I got my master’s in special education at the University of Colorado-CS and taught in, and later coordinated, a Functional Academics and Job Training program for middle and high school students with hearing impairment and other learning challenges. After having my daughter, Sarah, in 1991, I took an employment break. During some of that time, I volunteered as a parent support for teenage moms. When Sarah was 6, I taught part-time in a newly established preschool classroom at a public elementary school. In 1999, my family and I decided to move closer to relatives. Fortunately, I got a teaching position in Asheville with the NC School for the Deaf Preschool Satellite Program. I was thrilled to be working again with children with hearing loss and their families. After a year, the preschool class closed, and my position was changed to an itinerant position, working with children and parents in their homes and community. Now, twenty years have passed and I’m still here doing this work I love! Over the years, I’ve participated in different community organizations. Currently, I’m on the Mission’s Family Support Network Advisory Committee and trained in Level 3 Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). When not working, one of my favorite things to do is spend time exploring and being outdoors. Whether I’m hiking, walking my old dog, tending to my ducks, or gardening, I love looking for interesting things in nature. I also enjoy spending time in my kitchen listening to music or audiobooks while cooking, baking sourdough bread, and/or making Jun (like kombucha, but with green tea and honey). And even though I enjoy time alone, all the things I enjoy doing, I also love doing with family and friends. Visiting my daughter and her boyfriend in Nevada and spending time with my 97 ½ year old mom are at the top of my list!!

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Newsletter Committee

Chris Czajkowski
Donna Snipes

Contributors
Jenni Campagna

Roxanne Falls

Elizabeth Hopkins

Mary Lou Wright