Archive for May 2013

Vanessa’s Encouraging Notes

It was time to leave Cape Town and return to Gaborone. Vanessa added her last notes to the diary.

Dear Sue

Once again the time has flown by. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and Hughan again.

A few pointers to work on at home –

1)Eye contact:

a)  be patient and persevere

b)  always be on his eye level,

c)   hold objects new your face,

d)   freeze actions when he’s absorbed with them

e)   use sound

REMEMBER : talk – do – talk – do……

2) Intensive auditory training: especially as he has had so many ear infections.

a)   use animal noises,

b)   use transport noises.

3) Imitate and interpret: his babbling and actions

4) aim for varied language input - plenty of meaningful repetition re: use one word in many different sentences – “ball”, “the ball is blue”, “catch the ball”, “ Hughan’s ball”, “roll the ball”.

5) No gesturing

Give a command with only eye contact. Should he not respond correctly, do the action and repeat the language at the same time. Read through session notes for examples.

Please give my regards to Willem and a big hug and a kiss for Vil.

I hope you have a safe flight home. Remember to keep in touch frequently. I look forward to hearing from you (I love letters).

Maintain your positive attitude at all times. See you in three months time.

Take care


Wednesday 30/05/90 – First video

(VIDEO 5th lesson…Cape Town 1990) Helping parents with deaf children through our experience…

Today, Vanessa was filming Hughan and I, so I could take the video home with us to Botswana, as a reminder of what we had been doing in Cape Town.

This is what Vanessa wrote in the diary…..

Activity : condensed milk balls.

Aim : interpretation of his babbling and actions

Lovely Sue you did not gesture. You did the action and gave the language at the same time – “drop the biscuit in the packet”.

Good turn taking – Hughan put a biscuit in, mummy put a biscuit in.

Hughan’s eye contact was a lot better today. Be patient with the eye contact and don’t give up. Remember that if he is interested in watching the action you’re doing – rolling a rolling pin – just pause for a moment (stop the action) and he will 9/10 times look up at you (to query why you have stopped) and then you have your eye contact and quickly give your lovely suitable language input.

Hughan babbled a lot more today – “a –ja”, “wa-wa”, “ba-ba-ba”.

Good interpretation of his actions, “the tortoise wants to eat some coconut”, “mummy I want some more”.

A good strategy to bear in mind is do – talk – do.

First roll the rolling pin, then stop and talk with eye contact – “roll the rolling pin” and then do the action again.

Lovely imitation of Hughan banging the rolling pin and of him rolling the rolling pin.

Good turn taking again – “mummy roll the rolling pin”, “Hughan roll the rolling pin”.

Sue this was a lovely session and we had it on video! Thank you very much. You’ll gesturing has improved hundred percent. You are a lot more aware of the finer details of your technique now. Keep up this lovely work and positive attitude. The sentences you jotted down are good examples of meaningful repetition and naming – varied language input.

See you Friday.


Tuesday 29/05/90 – Bowl and Goodies

(4th Lesson…2nd Visit to Cape Town)

Vanessa was observing us from the viewing room. This is what Vanessa wrote in the ‘Diary’….

Activity : bowl and goodies

Aims : 1) Interpretation of Hughan’s babbling and actions.

               2) Receptive language - to ascertain what he understands without any visual clues.

Good you gave a simple command without any visual clues “open the door”.

When he doesn’t respond correctly remember to do the action with him and give the language at the same time.

You did this nicely with “open the ball” and ”shake the bells”.

Remember not to gesture.

You use the sounds well. He is babbling a lot more. He obviously loved the trumpet.

He loved crawling through the Play house. You made use of this by following his interests and giving suitable language – “climb through the tunnel”, “go up the ramp”.

Good Sue your trying not to gesture. Work on this, this afternoon.

Thank you


Monday 28/05/90 – Another Training

After our lesson on Wednesday doing the rabbit hunt, Vanessa had asked me to work on Hughan’s interpretation of his actions and give him the words for his actions (that he would want to say himself) – we had great fun doing this over the weekend.

Vanessa also asked me to write down some samples of sentences I could use when I am with Hughan –

Ball, “the ball is round”, “throw the ball”, “catch the ball”, “roll the ball”, “bounce the ball”.

Jacket, “put on your jacket”, “put your arm in the jacket sleeve”, “the jacket is warm”, “the jacket is soft”, “zip up the jacket”, “put on the hood”.

Car, “the car is blue”, “push the car”, ”the car is going fast”, “stop the car”, “the man is sitting in the car”, “the wheels are going around”.

Banana, “the banana is yellow”, “mummy is peeling the banana”, “mummy is mashing the banana”, “the banana is soft”, “Hughan is eating the banana”.

Shoes, “Hughan’s red shoes”, “put on your shoes”, “put your foot in the shoe”, “mummy is tying the shoe lace”, “Hughan has got his shoes on”.

Vanessa wrote – lovely Sue this is the correct idea.

Today’s lesson we were playing with sand.

Activity : sand play

Aims :

1) Interpretation of Hughan’s babbling and actions.

2) Receptive language - to ascertain what he understands without any visual clues.

We had a lovely long session today. While I modelled our aims – you observed, so as to get an idea of what I was expecting you to do. I am glad it helped. It is often easy to grasp an idea/concept correctly once you have observed someone else doing it.

Your interpretation, especially of his actions, has improved a lot. I can see you made a conscious effort concerning this game over the weekend. You are a lot more aware of the language he is conveying via these gestures and our giving him that appropriate language:

“ Help me sit on the chair please mummy”

“Please can I have the spade”

“Open the drawer please”

He thoroughly enjoyed throwing and catching the bean bags. Here Hughan made lovely eye contact. Good!

You first gave the simple command just with eye contact and then did the action and repeat it the appropriate language at the same time. “Throw the bean bag”, “catch the bean bag”.

Try and give simple command without any visual clues more often. Remember to do the action and repeat the language at the same time if he does not respond correctly.

Thank you for your hard work Sue.

Please work on the new aims at home.


Wednesday 23/05/90 – Rabbit hunt

Our next lesson with Vanessa involved playing with a toy rabbit hunt.

Activity : rabbit hunt

Aim :      1) interpret Hughan’s babbling and actions

2) use the word he would use – “give me the rabbit mummy”.

“Mummy I can see a rabbit”, “take your hand out mummy”- good interpretation of his actions,

During the rabbit hunt : you would point under the bed and say “look”, he would immediately respond, but then you couldn’t get his eye contact and his attention for the sentence : “look under the bed”,  because he was already concerned about looking under the bed.

Rather get eye contact first and say : “look under the bed”, “there is a rabbit under the bed” then only go with him and do the action, plus give the language at the same time.

This requires much patience, but this way the words are a lot more meaningful.

Thank you for the lovely session, keep up the hard work.


Tuesday 22/05/90 – Our first lesson

Hughan and I had arrived in Cape Town. We were staying on the grounds of Tygerberg Hospital, at the accommodation for families with hearing impaired children.

Vanessa was pleased to see us and we were having our first session with her.

Hughan and I worked together in a room while Vanessa observed from an adjoining room, which had a viewing window from it. Vanessa was able to watch me play with Hughan and we were unable to see her. She would correct me while I was working with Hughan, through an intercom.

This is what Vanessa wrote in the diary.

Today’s lesson -

Activity : blocks and cars

Aim : apply basic communication principles.

Lovely repetition – you used a single word and then that word in a short, full sentence.

“Push, push the puzzle”.

“Give, give me the block”.

“Pick me up mummy”- good interpretation of his actions.

Lovely, you are waiting for the eye contact.

Good: you are pointing out the different parts of the face. “The rabbit has eyes”, “look at the rabbit ears”. Always try and relate this immediately to his body, “Hughan’s eyes”, Hughan’s ears”, then perhaps “mummy’s eyes and ears”.

Lovely you are following his interest – he wanted to play with the draw. “Pull the draw open”,” close the draw”. Lovely he interpreted you playing with the horse and making it jump over the block.

Saturday 18/05/90 – Cape Town

Hughan and I travelled to Cape Town and we arrived at lunchtime.

It is a lovely feeling to be back.

Vanessa. Thank you for your letter. It’s been great hearing from you.

We feel Hughan has been responding well to our voices. He is still having ear drops in both ears, but ever since he has been unable to use them, I feel he had been giving us better eye contact.

We hope you will see a change in him. We have had great fun with him and he is still a good little boy.


Best wishes


Friday 17/05/90 – Great memories

I travelled with Hughan to Johannesburg and I attended my friend’s funeral.

Meeting up with my friends family and remembering all the good times I had had with my friend.

This was a very sad day.

Thursday 16/05/90 – Packing

I spent the day packing for our trip to go to South Africa.

Wednesday 16/05/90- ear infection

We had another visit to the doctor as Hughan has now got a cough. He has also started a discharge in his right ear again.

Hughan was not responding to our voices at all when he was only using his right hearing aid. He is now having ear drops in both ears though we are not using either hearing aid.