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Hearing Journey: Online Listening and Language Activities for Kids

What a great idea. A fabulous idea!

The world-wide-web is used for all kinds of things: to buy stuff from the comfort of home, comparison shopping, communicating, research like you wouldnt believe, music and movie downloads its a modern marvel that, just 20 years ago, was pretty much unheard of.

Advanced Bionics, maker of a high-quality cochlear implant, the HiResolution Bionic Ear System, has created a new use for the web a free site for parents, educators, therapists, teen and adult cochlear implant recipients to access listening and language activities. Parents can work with their kids or the kids can access the site on their own and they will. Why? Because its fun. Adults will access the site because they want to maximize their success with the cochlear implant so that they can better communicate with others.



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The Listening Room

Its called the Listening Room and there are all kinds of FREE games, puzzles and other activities designed for preschool and school age children that can be easily downloaded and assembled. Content is age-appropriate, gender-neutral and lots of giggles. Theres a section in development for infants and toddlers that will provide parents and professionals with information, principles on listening and language development and easy to use activities to use at home.

Carissa Moeggenberg, MA CCC-A, is a Senior Education Specialist at Advanced Bionics. In a recent telephone interview, Carissa explained the thinking behind The Listening Room. Advanced Bionics, in conjunction with Dave Sindrey (see below), started work on this project in 2006. We wanted to develop an online therapy resource for parents, therapists and, of course, kids to access FREE resources and activities to assist them as they develop their listening and language skills with a cochlear implant. From the beginning, we wanted it to be totally free and open, with content for all age groups.

Currently, the site continues to be in development [they are developing a teen and adult section and an infant and toddler section] but theres still plenty to do and see for all ages. Theres a monthly article for parents and educators to learn important information about listening and language. These articles are archived and can be accessed anytime in the Library section of the site.

The activities include how to make a Cereal Box Theater for pre-schoolers and Compound Word Lotto for school-age kids. And its fun!

Each month a new song is featured on the website; one example was a humorous ditty called Snap, Gulp and there are directions for creating a mural of the seasons at home or in the classroom. (More on that shortly.)

There are other regular features including Listening Ladder, Idea Share, a Weekly Wall Calendar suitable for printing all this for kids of all ages. (That includes you.)

Parents are going to love this site and kids will want to bookmark it so they can log on without your help. But the Advanced Bionics Listening Room doesnt stop there. The site contains information and activities that are perfect for use by teachers in the classroom and professionals in clinical settings, too!

The content is always fresh, updated weekly, making The Listening Room a site worthy of a bookmark.

The Educational Community

Teachers and school administrators are always in a cash bind so any teaching materials that they can get free are welcomed.

The Listening Room provides a library of information for teaching professionals working with children who have a hearing loss or a language delay something that is seen more frequently these days because these children are mainstreamed within the school population as much as possible. And many teachers lack experience working with these special needs kids so a quick brush-up, provided by The Listening Room, is extremely educational.

The site also provides rights-free, advertising-free classroom content and activities to improve the self-esteem of the child and raise awareness of hearing loss among classmates.

The site even includes general information on hearing health science for parents and educators. For example, last month there was a very informative article that provided practical information for parents and classroom teachers on the use of Cochlear Implants in the Classroom a topic about which few general education teachers have experience.

Advanced Bionics spokesperson Carissa Moeggenberg, again explained, We want to hear from the educational community, the professional community, parents and kids. We want all of these wonderful people to send us their thoughts on how to make The Listening Room even better. If you or your client or child have an activity youd like to share with others, please send it, and well do our best to see if we can post it for others.

Meet Dave Sindrey

The Listening Room is the brainchild of Dave Sindrey who, with the support of Advanced Bionics, provide[s] printable, usable and effective games and activities for anyone working with preschoolers and school age children. There are 12 sections within The Listening Room Kids with targeted resources and activities. Many of the resources within each section will evolve with fresh material on a weekly and monthly basis so you will want to keep coming back to see what is NEW and you wont want to miss the resources we retire!

Thats a hefty load Dave has taken on but, from the looks of the site, theres no doubt this is one of the best uses of the world-wide-web weve ever seen. As the site proclaims, The Listening Room for Kids is a steady stream of FREE activities and resources to support the development of speech, language and listening skills of children. Cool.

So introduce your child, tween or teen to the Advanced Bionics Listening Room and teachers, listen up, please: theres a great deal of classroom content updated weekly or monthly so theres always something new for you and your students to enjoy. Its free, educationally sound and just plain fun. And your contributions of activities are most welcomed!

This is one site every child, parent and classroom teacher will want to bookmark. Take a peek. And its all FREEEEE!

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