The day your child was diagnosed with a hearing loss, you became an integral part of a team created to bring your little one to his or her greatest potential. That team consists of the:
- Ear Nose and Throat specialist
- Teacher of the deaf and
- Specialists you consult regularly
Each of these professionals needs you to provide the necessary information for a complete and accurate diagnosis, and for the best possible approach to teaching your baby or preschooler.
How do you fit into your child’s team?
Because you are the expert on your child, you are the captain of your child’s team of professionals. It is your job to be sure that each professional has up-dated test results, and it is your right to have copies of all tests and reports. Be sure to bring copies of all your reports and give them directly to the professional. In that way, you have an opportunity to comment about them and discuss how the results might relate to other therapy work. All the information about your child comes together because of you.
As the center of your child’s team, you have much to tell the professionals, you have many questions that need answers, and you need a lot of information. You need to talk, but it is also important to listen. Sometimes it will help to bring a friend or relative who can take notes or clarify information so you will remember when you return home.
Before you leave a meeting with a teacher or therapist, be clear about what you will be doing at home to follow up. If you don’t understand why you are doing certain activities, ask questions. At your child’s next session, report back to that professional. Don’t be afraid to say that an activity doesn’t work for you or doesn’t work for your child. There are always different ways to reach a goal, and you probably have some excellent ideas that you can share.
When working with professionals, you need accurate infor•mation that you completely understand. You need your ques•tions answered. And you need a professional’s time. Most important, you and your child must be confident and comfort•able with the professionals on your team. Sometimes the relationship between you and a professional or between your child and a professional just doesn’t work. If that happens, it’s time to move on.
Create a Notebook
In our Correspondence Course, we talk about creating a notebook or binder to keep track of your child’s development. You will have a section for:
- receptive language
- expressive language
- speech production
- developmental milestones
If you have not started one, now is the time to begin. This notebook will provide you with answers for professionals as well as reports and test results that they can copy. Best of all, it can be a great source of joy for you as you watch your little one grow and develop.