Friday 01/03/91 – A great trip to Cape Town

DIARY NOTES – In 1991, 23 years ago today this is what Vanessa wrote in the ‘Diary’.

23 years ago Vanessa wrote in Hughan’s diary. We were at the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town where we had been attending lessons with Hughan, to teach him his lip-reading and communication skills.

Dear Sue

Time again to bid adieu – time is really flying—-it is already March. Before we know it, it will be July and your next visit – Yeah!

It has been a great two weeks. I’m going to miss our sessions; as I said yesterday I hate it when they end because it is such a pleasure working with you and observing how you work with Hughan.

I’m thrilled that you will be moving to the fairest Cape in January 1992. Till then and your next visit please continue all you’re doing in Gaborone.

Please concentrate on the following areas:

1. Auditory training: (DASL – pronounced Dazzle)

  • DASL: make a low loud noise/sound – bang on a tin/pan/table and Hughan must respond when he hears it. For example, put bottle tops into a tin/bucket etc. Auditory only = don’t let him see you making the sound.

This should be done daily for about 5 min,

Choose a time when his attention is at its best,

Record the results on the sheet I gave you,

Credit him with hearing the sound if he indicates in any way that he heard it.

(In other words if a bottle top fell onto the floor that he was going to put it in the bucket, still credit him. The type of response isn’t the thing – his reaction to the sound is!!!)

When you have 20 consecutive correct responses (five in a row for four days in a row) then do the next one.

  • Say “ba” with your mouth covered. He must respond to this. Choose any response he enjoys – perhaps clapping when he hears.

In other words – he not respond to a voice instead of the sound of a drum or a tin.

  • Continue reinforcing softer sounds, animal sounds and transport sounds.

2.       Naming and repetition

  • Name everything.
  • Do physical repetition, for example drop the fish a number of times, which consequently provides opportunity for verbal repetition because each time you repeat the language for what you are doing.

3.       Turn taking

Physical turn taking encourages physical repetition and thus verbal repetition. For example, Hughan blow the bubbles, mummy below the bubbles, Hughan below the bubbles etc.

4.       Receptive language

Keep extending his receptive language by giving those simple commands first without visual clues. Remember to prompt him – Command: “look under the chair”, Hughan doesn’t then prompt him by saying “where is the chair?” “There is the chair”, then repeat the command, “look under the chair” if he still doesn’t understand, then you can execute the command and repeat the language.

5.       Expressive language

Extend his expressive language – if he says “pull”, don’t just praise him and repeat “pull”. Extend it into a two word utterance or a short sentence, for example “pull the chair”.

  • up” : “pick me up”, “pick the car up
  • open” : “open the bowl”

6.       Don’t say “ta” anymore. Reinforce the word “give”. Keep modelling “give” – Hughan says “ta”, you say “give the knife please”.

When asking for things also use the word “give” – give mummy the car if he doesn’t respond you can use the natural gesture (out stretched hand).

7.       Make your new vocabulary books –

  • Family – mummy and daddy, Vil and people he knows.
  • Clothes
  • Body
  • Food

8.       Please continue completing your language columns at the back of the box (these columns were drawn up for us to write the date and any sounds and word utterances that Hughan had made, so we could keep track of his progress).

9.       Make a “sorting tray” – this is lovely for sorting (basic preparation for mathematics) and also for reinforcing the concept of “same”.

Ideas for the – Sorting Tray

  • 10 red bottle tops
  • 5 green buttons
  • 8 pieces of yellow material all the same size
  • 7 wine corks
  • 10 foam chips
  • 5 blue marbles

The items within one compartment must be identical – for example the buttons must be the same/colour/size as each other.

Tumble all the goodies out and Hughan most sort them out into the compartments in the tray.

Change the goodies once he gets to know them.

Also, this is a lovely opportunity to reinforce and model colours.

I guess that wraps things up except for the most important thing

Please keep in touch”.

Have a wonderful trip to England (we had planned our holiday) – Bon Voyage as they say.

Willem, lovely to see you again. Thank you for all the love and support you give Sue and for the work you do with Hughan.

You are such a special family. It is really enriching knowing you all.

Well guys – have a safe flight home to Gaborone.

Keep well and keep smiling.


Please notese – The notes that Vanessa wrote in the diary before we left Cape Town, were to encourage us to work with Hughan and to give us some new ideas of activities we could do when we got home. Also a reminder of work we had covered during our visit to the Centre.

(Helping parents with hearing impaired children through our experience…we are following our profoundly deaf son’s diary, from 1990, so you can see what we did to help him with his speech and hearing. Hughan is 25 years old now and he can hold a conversation on a phone. It is the little thing we did every day, over a long period of time, that has helped him. Please visit our page…’like’ and follow us to help others…Thank you :) )

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