Its been almost a year since we last published a post on 2 Bottles of Milk, so where have we been?
Last Christmas I was so ill that I spent most of Christmas Day in bed asleep and it got me thinking about how hectic our lives were and how we needed to relax and let something rest for a while and that was unfortunately the blog! With everything that Leo had gone through and a new baby, as well as life in general it was the easiest thing to let go and allow more time for all the other stuff that was going on at that point.
Continue reading “Where have we been?”
Over the last few months we have written regularly about Leo’s Hearing Loss and his Assessment Process for Cochlear Implants at London’s St Thomas Hospital.
To say that this journey has been emotional is an understatement and it has also been stressful for Leo. It is a journey that has taken longer then we expected, however since we last wrote we have had some huge developments and his journey has moved forward significantly which has been a good yet stressful and emotional time.
Continue reading “Our Cochlear Journey”
Last night I started on a thirty week course to learn British Sign Language or BSL for short.
As regular followers of this blog will know both Keighley and Leo have a hearing loss and although Keighley lip reads Leo is still young enough to need the extra assistance to communicate with other people. Following a point around last Christmas where Leo wanted something and couldn’t communicate what it was which led to him having a melt down and our realisation that he needed another form of communication beyond speech.
After the melt down we decided that we were going to teach Leo some basic sign language signs that he would need and be able to use, things like Please, Thank You, Eat, Drink, Milk, More and a few more. Over the last few months we have added some signs to his vocabulary and his speech has come on a little as a result of us using the same signs on a daily basis.
While we have been learning basic signs with Leo it led Keighley and I to develop a bigger interest in learning more of this language form. This led to us attending a taster session back in May and then myself enrolling on the course that I started last night.
Last night we did all the introductions and stuff that people do on a first lesson and then we went on to learn the Alphabet through finger spelling and I can now spell a whole host of words via finger spelling, including my name, kids and wifes name and place where I live. I had a really enjoyable time and learnt a lot and I am looking forward to next weeks lesson.
Written by Hollie of Thrifty Mum
What’s baby sign language?
I was first introduced to baby signing when bumping into an old school friend. She had been taking her 1 year old daughter from being a couple of months old to a local baby signing class. We made time to go for a coffee and that’s when I witness how amazing baby signing is.
Baby signing is a form of pre-verbal communication. Babies understand so much before they can talk! The proof to me was when my friend’s daughter started signing asking for what she wanted to eat. She was also pointing out things around her including a girl she had seen wearing a Minnie Mouse hat. It was amazing to see!
What are the benefits to baby sign language?
As soon as my son James was a few months old I started the classes too. No longer did I have to ‘guess’ the cry. Was he tired? Hungry? Wanting a cuddle? In fact, we had a very warm few days just as we had started to introduce water to his diet and he was able to tell me when he was too hot and that he needed a drink of water rather than milk! It made me think that these classes could actually be a life saver. When teething began he told me when he was in pain. This meant I knew when to give Calpol and when I didn’t really need to.
One of James’ earlier sign to learn was the one for “all gone”. This is one we did after each meal or snack so he knew he had finished his meal. Funnily he adopted this sign very quickly but also for when he needed to tell me he was full. I found this really useful as learning about portion sizes as a new mum is one of the hardest things to judge.
Why carry on baby sign language when they’re learning to talk?
Learning to sign won’t impede a baby’s language development. If anything it will assist aide their communication. As a parent you will be able to correct them if their speech doesn’t match the sign they’re wanting to do. Signs are always said at the same time. This has meant the signs learnt in baby sign class have been James’ first words, so milk, all gone, bed, shoes and lots of animal noises!
Being able to communicate with James from very early on really helped with bonding. My parents in particular made a huge effort to also learn the signs so they could reinforce what I was teaching on the days they looked after him.
I also love that if James makes any little friends who are deaf or have a hearing impairment then he won’t have the same barriers as other children to communicate with them. I’m hopeful that this encourages his respect for diversity as he grows up.
“Being able to communicate is a fundamentally important part of human development. Baby signing builds upon the natural use of gesture and other nonverbal signals by preverbal infants, greatly enhancing their communication repertoire. Without spoken or sign language, children’s communication is pretty much restricted to the immediate here and now, for example being able to point at what they want. Once they can speak or sign they are able to tell us about their past experiences, future desires, thoughts and feelings.”
– Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon,
Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling
If you’re interested in joining a Baby or Toddler signing group, you can find your nearest classes here: Baby Signing Classes
I have often spoken about Leo’s hearing loss and where we are within his journey. One thing I have never written about though is the fact that since Christmas, we’ve all been learning BSL (British Sign Language) to help Leo communicate his wants and needs. It will also come in handy when he has his operation for Cochlear Implants and after he operation he will spend around four weeks with little to no hearing at all.
Following a melt down by Leo just before Christmas when he really wanted something but couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried, to communicate with us what he wanted Keighley and I made the decision to start learning and teaching Leo some basis sign language.
We’ve learnt quite a few words in a relatively short period of time. As is the norm with kids he has picked it up a lot quicker then we have.
We have been using various resources including a book lent to us by his Play Therapist. The biggest resource we’ve used though is the BSL Website which has images of words with the hand movements shown. We have also used various videos from YouTube as well.
Between us we have learnt words such as mummy, daddy, please, thank you, eat, drink, dinner, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, sorry and many more.
We’ve found that a combination of using the sign whilst saying the word at the same time has helped Leo to start saying certain words, which is fantastic.
Keighley and myself are attending a taster session for a course this coming Saturday and we are looking forward to it. I will let you know what we learn.
To learn more about BSL click here
Today the 15th May marks the start of Deaf Awareness Week 2017, this is a cause close to our hearts in our family due to the fact that both my wife and my youngest son have a Hearing Loss.
Through the course of this week we have some fantastic guest blogs for you to enjoy, updates from our family journey and also some facts and figures from Simon Robb at Action of Hearing.
Our guest bloggers this week are as follows:
Living with EVA: An account of a family living with an EVA (Enlarged Vestibular Aqueducts) diagnosis written by Sarah and her sister Laura.
Sarah blogs at Arthur Wears
Baby Sign: An Experience of Baby Sign Language written by Hollie.
Hollie blogs at Thrifty Mum
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing loss (SSHL): One persons experince of suddenly loosing their hearing later in life. Written by Carly Sygrove.
Carly blogs at My Hearing Loss Story
We hope you enjoy this week, however we also hope you take something away from it as well. Let us know via our social media or in the comments section on each post.