Archive for August 2013

Friday 31/08/90 – Playing in the dark

DIARY NOTES – In 1990, 23 years ago today this is what I wrote in the diary -

Hughan turned around to me when I called him first time today. Also he responded when I was knocking on the door.

At dinner time I made the kitchen dark, and while the boys ate their dinner they each had a torch and had fun looking around and shining on everything while they ate their food.

Vil has improved a lot with the way he communicates with Hughan. Going in front of him and getting his attention before he speaks to him.

Thursday 30/08/90 – farm animals


DIARY NOTES – In 1990, 23 years ago today this is what I wrote in the diary -

We had a visit to the farm as the girl I  teach has got a new horse. Vil, Hughan and I just paid a visit.

Her mother (the owner of the farm) took us on a visit to see all of the animals.

Hughan and Vil held a new born piglet. Hughan had his mouth wide open. He went in with the sheep and goats and the sheep sucked on their fingers.

We saw the cattle and geese, ducks and the chicken batteries. The boys loved it.

When we got home we played with the farm animals.

Wednesday 29/08/90 – Aeroplanes


DIARY NOTES – In 1990, 23 years ago today this is what I wrote in the diary -

Hughan turned around to me calling him today – first time.

He thought I was at the front door and calling “hi, hi, hi” and went to look for me. I had come through from the kitchen, but at least he responded.

Vil and Hughan played with Hughan’s aeroplane. Vil is definitely talking to Hughan better now.

Hughan is not feeling so well. He has started a runny nose. I have started giving him medication. Let’s hope it will stop anything developing.

Tuesday 28/08/90 – playing with a cat

DIARY NOTES – In 1990, 23 years ago today this is what I wrote in the diary -

Vil spent the night with his friend. Hughan missed Vil at bedtime, and also when he woke up in the morning.

Hughan and I spent some time in the garden.

We went visiting in the afternoon and Vil was back with me. I took along Vil’s bike and Hughan’s toy motorbike – they really enjoyed themselves.

My friend has a cat and Hughan was very impressed with him. The cat went upstairs and Hughan was getting himself up and down the stairs stopping now and again to say “hi” to us all sitting in the lounge.

Monday 27/08/90 – playing with balls

DIARY NOTES – In 1990, 23 years ago today this is what I wrote in the diary -

I had to go to the dentist in the morning. Vil had gone to play with a friend.

In the afternoon Hughan and I had a great time with two balls in the lounge. Thomas (our little Jack Rurrel puppy)  joined in and was bringing the ball back to us for us to throw for him again.

Monday 27/08/90 – Back in Gaborone

DIARY NOTES – Back in Gaborone after being in Cape Town -

In 1990, 23  years ago today, we had arrived back in Gaborone after our trip to Cape Town. I had spent two weeks with Jamie (Vil) and Hughan at the Carel du Toit Centre, where Vanessa was teaching us how to help Hughan with his lip reading skills and encouraging him to speak.

This is what I wrote in the diary –

Dear Vanessa

Thanks for all your assistance in Cape Town. Vil, Hughan and I all benefited from our classes. As usual it was great to be in our ‘second home (the Carel du Toit Centre)’!

We met Willem in Johannesburg on our return. What a fantastic feeling being back as a family and having Willem’s support.

The boys were very pleased to see their Dad. Willem came out to the aeroplane to help me with the boys, and the look of shock on their faces was great. As you can imagine Mum did not feature any more. This was a great feeling. They sat with Willem on the return flight to Gaborone.

Thursday 23/08/90 – 3rd visit to Cape Town – Great encouragement


DIARY NOTES – Notes of encouragement…In 1990 this was our third trip and the last session we had with Vanessa at the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town.

Vanessa always gave me a lot of encouragement and praise, which inspired me to go home with lots of new ideas of how to work with Hughan. This is what she wrote in our diary before we returned to Gaborone in Botswana…

Dear Sue

Time to bid adieu – can you believe it? Time flies doesn’t it? Once again it has been an absolute pleasure working so intensively with you.

Thank you for all your patients, dedication, hard work and determination! You are a very special lady and your sons, Hughan and Vil (Jamie) are extremely fortunate to have you as their mum.

Some aspects you must please give attention to, on a constant basis at home:

1) Auditory training:

• Intensive -it must be done daily, as well as throughout your day – as much as possible.
• Remember to imitate the sound with your voice after you have made the loud noise (so as not to drown your voice).
• Point to your ear: “I can hear”.
• Make intensive use of animals sounds especially as you frequent the farm and as Hughan loves animals and has already acquired “ooo” for “moo”. Reinforce this at home through storybooks, play etc.

2) Expect:

• language from Hughan. Give him an opportunity to respond vocally (verbal turn taking). eg: “open” (pause and expect with your facial expression, your posture everything) and then put that word into a single sentence “open the door”.
• In this way we are also emphasising certain words by isolating them that encouraging one word utterances.
• Reinforce his receptive vocabulary (words he understands) by labelling everything. Using everything was named.
Banana: this is a banana, give me the banana, Hughan’s banana, peel the banana,
the banana is yellow, it is a long banana and so on – labelling is interrelated with meaningful repetition.
• Imitate and interpret his babbling (this you do very nicely).

3) Receptive language:

continue to extend his receptive language – to determine what he understands without any visual clues. Remember should you give a command and he doesn’t respond DON’T gesture. Rather do the command yourself and simultaneously repeat the appropriate language.

4) Incorporate Vil (Jamie) as much as possible:

• Don’t rush your “activity”
• Be patient with Vil and have realistic expectations of the understanding you want him to have.
• Intensive turn taking.
• Control the pace of the activity – one toy at a time.
• Use language on Vil’s level when talking to him (challenging him linguistically).
• Encourage Vil to communicate verbally as much as possible with Hughan.
• Model for Vil (with his attention) so he knows exactly what you want him to do.
• Remind Vil not to touch Hughan to get his attention, but rather to make a loud noise or click his fingers, clap his hands etc. You could say …” Remember what Vanessa told you to do…..”

5) Be aware of your interaction. Be natural. To aid his concentration on shifting your stress eg: don’t always emphasise the last word.

• Tell continuous made up stories with puppets.
• Sing nursery rhymes and other songs (do the actions).

6) Note the occupational therapists home program. Use her ideas for activities and in so doing kill two birds with one stone.

Read through your session notes as often as needed – plenty of information from, ideas, examples etc. are in them.
Have a safe journey home. I hope the boys enjoy the Smarties.

Thanks once again.

I’m already missing you guys and I am looking forward to your next visit in November.

Please keep in touch. Your long letters mean so much to me. My regards to Willem.

Fondest wishes


Thursday 23/08/90 – 3rd visit to Cape Town – 7th lesson

DIARY NOTES – play tea….In 1990, this was our third trip to the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town. Vanessa was teaching us and this is what she wrote in our hearing impaired son’s diary…

Activity: play – play tea
Aims: same as the 22nd, plus bring in plenty of sounds.

Eye contact was much better when you held the item next to your face and distanced yourself slightly eg: half a metre as opposed to being so close that your face is almost touching his.

Remove things that will distract his attention. This makes eye contact a lot easier. If you only have the jug between you and him and he wants the jug, he will look at you.

He is using a new sound “dit,dit,dit”.

He didn’t always react immediately to my loud banging. Please bring sounds in as much as possible.

Thanks Sue. Unfortunately this was our last session . It has been a great two weeks.

See you tomorrow


Wednesday 22/08/90 – 3rd visit to Cape Town – 6th lesson

DIARY NOTES – Brushing teeth and foam farm animals….In 1990, this was our third trip to the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town. Vanessa was teaching us and this is what she wrote in our hearing impaired son’s diary…

Activity: brushing teeth and foam farm animals
1) intonation – emphasise first word, be more natural
2) Expect a response from Hughan

Good auditory training with the toothpaste box. “I can’t hear”. Lovely emphasis of the no-sound.

Expect that language:
“brush (pause – expect) brush Hughan’s teeth”
“Open (pause – expect) open the box”

Sue you are giving language for each action. This is super, keep trying to get that eye contact. You got it beautifully when you held the teeth (plastic ones) and the brush next to your face and said “brush the teeth”. Remember to hold things next to your face as opposed to him holding it and you look down.

“Oooo” – moo (wonderful)

Lovely auditory training with the animal sounds
Horse – neigh
Pig – oink oink
Cow – Moo
Dog – woof, woof

Hughan definitely is using his voice to communicate – to tell you something specific. I love the way you are interpreting his babbling and then interpreting it (giving him the language). You are also labelling everything beautifully.
- Pull the plug out
- feel the water
- the water is hot / cold
- turn the tap

Much better interpretation and emphasis today, Sue. As a tip to maintain this, trying concentrate on emphasising the first word instead of the last word.

Thanks for a beautiful session. Please do intensive auditory training and work on our aims for this session.

Thank you


Tuesday 21/08/90 – 3rd visit to Cape Town – 5th lesson

DIARY NOTES – Bowl of goodies….In 1990, this was our third trip to the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town. Vanessa was teaching us and this is what she wrote in our hearing impaired son’s diary…

Activity: Bowl of goodies
1) auditory training
2) expect language
3) incorporate Vil (Jamie)

I (Vanessa) modelled the session. We did a group activity – re: incorporated Vil, with auditory training. Had a bowl with various goodies (each with a specific sound) in it, covered with a towel to create an element of surprise so as to make the game exciting and consequently keep Hughan and Vil interested.

We took one item out at the time – each having a turn to take a toy out without looking (maintaining suspense aspect). We played with each item until they were tired of this toy. Extend each toy to its fullest potential. Get in varied language and intensive auditory training.

Once again I did turn taking. Vil was a lot more patient today. Both of them loved the activity. Try this activity at home. Vil communicated nicely with Hughan today. Daily practice and it will improve even more. Be patient with Vil – always remember he is also still growing in all aspects – emotional, social, thinking etc. Sometimes we are actually expecting adult behaviour and understanding from him, which isn’t fair. Just be aware of this.

Some of the toys we played with and those sounds –
1) car – brrm, brrm
2) doll- crying
3) bell – ting a ling
4) duck – quack, quack
5) dog – woof, woof
6) cow – moo
7) trumpets – toot

Thank you
See you tomorrow