Birth to Three Corner

By Jeannene Evanstad

My name is Jeannene Evenstad. I have three children, Kevin almost 5, Brian 3, and Emily 10 months. Emily and Brian are hearing impaired; both were identified at birth. The ideas in this section have been shared with me by parents, teachers, and deaf adults.

  • My family takes many pictures; we now put them to very good use. We have a number of small photo albums that we look at and discuss daily. We have a favorite people album, a places we go album, an opposite album-"baby is up/baby is down", a feeling album, and an action album. My children love being the stars of the stories we talk about and sign.
  • Introduce your children to music and dance when they're young. Holding on to a balloon while listening to music is a great way to feel the rhythm.
  • Over the past three years I have collected so much paper relating to my children; I finally bought three ring binders and a three-hole paper punch. I now have a notebook for audiograms, progress reports, IFSP's; I also have a notebook for all of the articles I have been given---I actually read the articles now. Everything I receive is hole punched and put in a notebook. It's a much better system than filing things in the big plastic box.
  • One of the best things I did was making contact with other families with h.i./deaf children. I've learned so much from other parents and children. The peer interaction is great for all three of my children.

Frequently Asked Questions....

1. My baby was just identified with a hearing loss. How do I take care of him/her and how do I talk to him/her?

Treat your baby like you would a child with perfect hearing. Hold your child; love your child; talk to your child; sing to your child; enjoy your child.

2. How do we know we are picking the best method of communication for our child?

The type of communication a family chooses is a very personal decision and should be based on the needs of the family. It is important to remain open-minded and realize these needs may change over time. Communication mode may change as your child's strengths and weaknesses become more obvious. The decision you make today is not irreversible.

3. How do we keep the hearing aids from flopping around and falling out?

--Many parents find wig/toupee tape very helpful. It is a two-sided tape that helps keep the hearing aids in place behind the ear. The tape can be found at a wig shop or possibly a hairdresser.

--Pink hair tape can be criss-crossed over the front of the hearing aids to help keep them in place. This tape doesn't tend to irritate the skin and doesn't hurt to remove. This can be found in some grocery stores and drug stores in the hair care area.

--Huggie aids can be obtained from your audiologist. They are rings of plastic tubing that are attached to the hearing aid and circle your child's ear. They are very helpful if your child's hearing aids tend to fall forward constantly.

--"Critter Clips" can also be obtained from your audiologist. This is a cord that attaches to the hearing aids then to your child's clothes. It will not stop the hearing aids from falling out, but at least they will still be attached to your child. You can also use an eyeglass strap and safety pin it to your child.

These things may or may not work. Just have patience; eventually they will stop falling out.

4. My child never pulled his/her hearing aids out; now, all of a sudden, he/she won't leave them alone. Why is this?

Your child probably won't leave a hat on or their baby sunglasses either.

If your sure the hearing aids are working properly, the earmolds fit, there is no fluid in the ear and no ear infection, it is just another phase to work through. Don't give up; just because your child continually takes them out doesn't mean they are not benefiting from them.

5. What would someone advice who has been through this process?

--Talk to other parents. Often the best solutions to problems come from another family.

--If something doesn't feel right for your family, it probably isn't.

--No choices are permanent.

The 0-3 corner is contributed by Jeannene Evenstad, a Denver Parent Coordinator for Families for Hands & Voices, and mother of 3 kids, two of whom are deaf/hh

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