Thursday, November 3, 2011

Listening Therapy for Men

Some you know my children are deaf and learned to LISTEN and SPEAK with a specific type of therapy called Auditory Verbal Therapy or AVT. We spent countless hours a day hiding our speech from the children behind toys, behind hands, behind anything we could as if we had a really ugly sore on our mouths and we were on a first date or something. This just forced them to use their cochlear implants to hear what were saying rather than reading our lips.

Now, what you may not be aware of, that this specific therapy focuses on listening abilities first. If the child learns to listen well, they'll pick up speech easier. Several of these methods can help marriages also. If your spouse is having trouble hearing any of the following, you may consider some AVT. Here's some advice.
  1. Your spouse has trouble hearing/understanding 2 or 3 step commands such as "Take out the trash and put a clean bag in please." Take it back a notch but supervise. If your spouse can hear the command "take out the trash" but fails to put a new bag in the can, hold up two fingers so he knows he has two tasks. Give the instructions slowly, clearly and remain near the site where instructions were given until he returns from throwing the trash away. At this point remove one digit from your hand (it's never appropriate to use the middle finger alone!) and show him he still has one task left. When he gets the new liner and places it correctly in the can, jump and cheer and give that man a big hug. He CAN follow 2 step commands. Eventually you should be able to remove yourself from the instruction phase and this task should become natural for him.
  2. If your husband has trouble hearing different tones in your voice...For example, he asks what you want for your birthday and you...(pause) and begin your usual answer so full of sacrifice, so full of pain left over from the last giftless b'day "Oh, that's okay, I don't need anything." Let's say he only hears the words that you are saying not the desperation in your voice that you haven't had a gift from him in over 10 years. This can be a real problem. Take it back a notch and give him more direct instructions. Don't confuse him by expecting him to hear your tones and read your mind. Leave him no room for confusion. You may say, "I don't care if you give me a day to myself and watch the kids for a while. I've went 10 years doing without so you better make this one GOOD!" If he still gives you nothing, feel free to back step and add in visuals to help him such as evil glances or smaller portions at dinner.
  3. If your man can't hear the children ask for things such as "Will you fix me cereal, I'm hungry, I need you to hand me this..." you need to leave the house for a few hours so he'll have to fix cereal, feed the little people or play games, etc. Some men have the ability to allow dogs barking outside to keep them awake at night but can't even hear their own babies cry in the room next to your's. I suppose it's the difference in pitches. Let your kids cry just a little bit longer so you are SURE the husband is awake. It doesn't mean he'll get up, so if he doesn't, you need to make sure you do this every time the child cries. The baby isn't gonna die from crying, so walk slowly.
I just thought I would share. This type of therapy has really helped us a lot over the years. My kids and husband all hear well now. We have participation from all parties who live here and we all are happier for it.

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