Hughan’s Diary 30 Years Ago
This DIARY has enabled me to bring you our story.
We started the Carel du Toit program in Cape Town 30 years ago.
We believed our profoundly deaf son, Hughan, would benefit from the program and we put 100% effort into what we were being taught. This has proved life changing for him. We embraced a new way of communicating with him, which paid off.
These were the introductory notes that were put in the front of ‘Hughan’s Diary’ that we kept, to track Hughan’s progress between our return visits to the Centre every 3 months, as we were living in Gaborone in Botswana.
Welcome to our program. We hope, and believe, that you can benefit from it in guiding your child. The child is utterly dependent on the adults near him, most of all on his mother and father.
You are welcome to use this book to write down any change in progress, or activities done at home, concerning your child’s development. We will appreciate it if you will do that at least once a week because we do acquire insight in his progress as well as your observation of him. Remember to bring this book every time.
Remember to attend all appointments. If you cannot attend your appointments please contact us as soon as possible and cancel it. This gives us a chance to help another patient during that time.
Please read and reread all the information in this book from time to time!!
A few points to remember while you are working with your child:
1) Always face towards the light (window) : your child must see your face clearly when you talk to him because he can make use of extra information to fill in “gaps”, for example – emotions (sad, happy, excited).
2) Eye contact: always make eye contact on eye level. Kneel down when you talk to your child, or pick him up, or hold him on your lap.
3) Hold objects: which you are talking about next to your face: for example – Ball. This is a ball. It is David’s ball. Catch the ball. Give the ball.
4) Talk about things that interest your child: talk about the things he is doing, is looking at, is playing with, is eating. – Talk about his clothes and his body parts when dressing him also at bath time. – Talk for him, for example, your child points to a ball (maybe also makes “sounds”). Ask yourself: what does he want to say? Then say the words for him: I want the ball. Give me the ball. Give me the ball, mummy. Here is the ball. Thank you.
5) Auditory training: This is also very important. The child has residual hearing and we must help him to make the most of it. We must develop his listening skills.
a) We must make him aware of sound and no sound.
b) He must be able to localise sound.
c) He must react correctly to sound.
d) He must learn the meaning of sound.
e) We must refine sound: – environmental sounds, animal sounds and speech sounds.
6) Speak clearly and in a full sentence: Take one word out of the sentence and repeat it, if you want the child to repeat it. Use that word again in a sentence, for example – Cup. This is a cup. Take the cup.
7) Encourage the child to copy words. Be happy if the child says something even if it’s just a sound or part of a word, because this will encourage him to try again. Copy what he says because this will teach him what communication is: mummy says something (I listen) – I say something (mummy listens)
NEVER USE THE WORD “IT” – Remember everything has a name. Give your child the names of things and actions and so the number of words he knows will become more, for example – Car. This is a car. Daddy drives a car.
All babies the number of sounds. They become familiar with the sounds. The sounds which have important meanings for the child, will be the most easily learnt. The most important sound is his mothers and fathers voice. I’m getting used to his mother’s voice (sound) he shows a response. He discovers his own voice (sound), then later tries to imitate the sounds he hears. That is why meaningful talk and repetition is so important. If his parents imitate the sounds, he start learning the meaning of communication: Baby smiles at mummy – mummy smiles back. Baby makes babbling sounds – mummy imitates them. They are communicating.
1) always wearing the hearing aids
2) keep the ear moulds clean
3) check the batteries
4) when you put the hearing aids on, smile and say “I can hear!” – Your face mass show that hearing is fun.
Also educate all the other members of the family and friends who play with, or talk to your child – this is important, this is a team effort and your child will only benefit from it.
(I started this website to help other patents with deaf children through our experience. Our son Hughan was born in 1988 and was diagnosed profoundly deaf at 14 months old. We kept a Diary, so his progress could be tracked between our lessons, as we were living in Gaborone in Botswana and traveled every 3 months to the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town.)