Summer break is here and my children could not be more excited. Their long, hot days are filled with endless amounts of free play, creativity, and imaginative games. In just the past month, we have had swim lessons, Vacation Bible School, reading programs at the library, traveled to the NASA Space Station in Houston, and explored the mountains of North Carolina.
In each of these moments, my children are learning with hands-on experiences, expanding their vocabulary, and using their body in incredible ways.
The summer also means more pool time. This also means more moments my children with hearing loss have to be without their hearing aids on. For a while, this idea a made me panic a little until we began to use this time to our advantage. We practice our signing, working on non-verbal communication, and educate others around us on hearing loss and how they can accommodate to my children.
However, when my children’s hearing aids are in, we utilize every moment. As parents, we see ourselves as partners with our children’s teachers and therapists. Three months off of school doesn’t mean there are three months off of learning. The world is their classroom too and our summer is filled with endless amounts of experiences to explore and learn from. Phonak’s Roger technology allows our family to maximize every opportunity and give our children full access to explore all its wonders.
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There are four main reasons utilizing Roger products in the summer is critical for our children
As a mother, I believe that it is my role to be an active part in my children’s education. I see myself as a “partner” with their teachers and want to do everything I can to support them in their job. This is especially true for my children with hearing loss. My son Ayden goes to school four days a week for half a day. That is great, but is not a lot of time. A huge part of his education and growth will be happening at home with our family.
I feel so grateful I live in a community that can provide the accommodations for my son in the classroom, but I do not believe that it can stop there. The world too, is his classroom. If he should have the Roger system at school to assist his learning, for us he should have access to the Roger at home too. Having the Roger system at home, gives me the full access to all of my child’s hearing so that I can partner with his teachers, and continue all the work they have done throughout the year.
My son, Ayden, just completed another year of pre-school. Our community has an awesome inclusive program that does a great job at accommodating to his hearing loss. He loved school and loved learning. He had a great report card showing that he is performing at grade level or above in many areas. However, one huge piece that came out of the year was that there were gaps in his vocabulary. With more understanding from his hearing Itinerant, Kara Graham, I began to have a better understanding why.
“It’s tough for kids with hearing loss to learn language “incidentally,” meaning, they don’t necessarily overhear their parents talking and pick up the “side language.” – Kara Graham, Hearing Itinerant Teacher at C.A.S.E. Itinerant Services
“It’s tough for kids with hearing loss to learn language “incidentally,” meaning, they don’t necessarily overhear their parents talking and pick up the “side language.”
Once this was pointed out to me, I began to see exactly how true this was. Ayden knows a lot of complex words, but other words that were not directly taught to him, he didn’t know. For example: he could talk about words like “devastating” “challenge” and “thoughtful” but he was not sure what a “ceiling” was. Learning vocabulary isn’t something that is going to happen just in the classroom but at home. In fact, the importance of having a vast vocabulary is crucial in his overall learning. Utilizing the Roger FM system at home, we are able to make every learning moment count. This truly allows us to became active partners in his education.
Ways that we target vocabulary in the summer time happened in many ways. One main place actually happened in the car. Our family travels to the deep mountains of North Carolina, and the shorelines of Northern Michigan every summer. These are 6-12-hour long car rides for our family. We have the Roger on most of the time in the car as this is a classic situation where hearing, even with his hearing aids, it is difficult because of background noise. I will describe what we are seeing, and clarify all the new sights as we drive. Knowing that Ayden is hearing clearly the new vocabulary we are learning is truly a gift.
My kids are active and love participating in many different activities. The summer time is a great time to give them the opportunity to participate in events that they might not have the time for in the school year. This has included: Soccer camp, vacation bible school, library story time, lego club, weekends away with Grandparents and the list goes on.
These are all situations where hearing for my children with hearing loss are difficult. In fact, before I had my Roger FM system, these were situations that I might have avoided attending because they would be difficult for my son to hear. However, the ease of use of the Roger and ability to hand to a teacher, coach, or library is amazing. I give them a few basic tips. This includes how to mute and unmute, place it around their neck and let them go. I know that Ayden is going to be able to have a great experience.
Another amazing feature that many Roger systems have is setting the microphone to a group setting. This allows the Roger to pick up all the voices in the room when it is in the middle of a table, a car or the room where a play date is happening. Once the feature picks up the voices in the room it sends them to the receivers attached to the hearing aids. Having the group setting feature is an incredible benefit.
For example, in the summer time my boys love to play with Legos for hours. When this happens, I will place the Roger on the table so that it will pick up the multiple voices. My boys love each other, but at times, Ayden can miss details of what my other son is saying and this can cause conflict. Having the Roger systems helps to make sure that their conflict is not a miss in communication.
There are a number of Roger products that offer this feature, including the Roger Table Mic, Roger Pen and Roger Touchscreen Mic.
Roger Table Mic: A wireless microphone especially desired for small and large meetings.
Roger Pen: A wireless microphone fit for a one mic speaker or for a group setting. The Roger Pen has a bluetooth connection and is helpful for hearing over background noise and over distance. I also really appreciate how easy this is to hand off to a person that has never used a Roger system before. For example, Ayden’s soccer coach. He only needs to worry about muting it when he doesn’t want Ayden to hear is every word.
Roger Touchscreen Mic: There is both a microphone for the teacher to wear around the neck or it can pick up speech from a group of students when placed on the table.
I believe the Roger system should not be limited just to the classroom. The entire world is a classroom, and being able to have access to all the different lessons during the summer time is important to our family.
“Our children are sponges, and are excited to soak up all that is around them. The Roger system makes that fully possible.”
Our children are sponges, and are excited to soak up all that is around them. The Roger system makes that fully possible. The benefit to continue the amazing work my children’s teachers and therapist have done in the school year, the added ability to effectively expand his vocabulary, the amount of activities, and also having a table top option so they can hear all their loved one speak, allows my children to grab hold of all the lessons that summer has to offer.