Monday, June 27, 2011

HLAA Convention Workshops

I am always amazed by the amount and variety of workshops available at the convention. I wish I could have attended them all!

On Friday, June 17, I attended The Looping of America Begins with YOU! I was very late due to talking with some exhibitors from the convention about certain services and products I was interested in, so I only attended the last part of it. I learned that unfortunately, a lot of people are not told by their audiologist or hearing aid dispenser about the t-coil option and loop system. From personal experience, I was never told about this option by my audiologists and the first time I learned about it was at my first HLAA convention. I was only told about how the t-coil can be used with the telephone, which I never used it for because it did not seem to help. This workshop made me more interested in becoming more involved and helping others become aware of the loop system. I should become involved with my local HLAA chapter back home and help them advocate for the loop system to be installed in various places where it would be most helpful. After having such a wonderful experience with it at the musical, Wicked, I am more interested than ever. I don't want it to be that the only times I can use the loop system is when I attend HLAA conventions and events.

On Saturday, June 18th, I attended two workshops: What Children with CIs Need at School and Common Pitfalls of Parenting Your Child with Hearing Loss. Being an educator, I was interested in attending these workshops specifically for parents & educators. I wish I could have attended more workshops that day, but I learned that it is best to pick two and not get overwhelmed with trying to attend as many workshops as possible. I really enjoyed both workshops. They got me thinking about how I can better serve my students and their teachers and families.

What Children with CIs Need at School focused a great deal on FM systems and what constitutes a good acoustical environment for students. The presenter, Donna L. Sorkin, provided a lot of good tips about how to provide these things and how to make a case for themI enjoyed hearing from others their persoanl experiences working with children with CIs and from those who are implanted themselves, including Sorkin.

Common Pitfalls of Parenting Your Child with Hearing Loss was excellent. I agreed with everything the presenter, Alison Freeman, said. This workshop went over seven common pitfalls unique to parents of deaf and hard of hearing children when communicating and disciplining them. She began the presentation with a quote, "Deafness is not a disability, the inability to communicate is." I really like this quote and think it is important for people to understand this. Freeman talked about how we should pay attention to language acquisition and how the child will best acquire it. She said that it should not matter how they acquire language as long as they are able to do so without much effort. I liked the Confucius quote Freeman used when discussing education: "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand." How cool is that? It was especially helpful that the presenter was hard of hearing herself. She talked about her personal experiences with growing up hard of hearing. I appreciated hearing from the parents who attended the workshop. I learned a lot from them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops I attended at the HLAA Convention. I learned a lot and I look forward to using what I learned in my work as an itinerant teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students within a public school district.


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