Guidelines for Getting The Most out of Lessons



Before You Can Start

1. Make sure you have had your child's hearing tested recently (within the last year). Remember that hearing loss can worsen and the hearing aids may need to be turned up. If he has an ear infection, it needs to be treated first. If he wears a cochlear implant, the settings may need to be readjusted. You need to make sure he can hear the best he can before starting to work with him.

2. Make sure that his hearing aids (or implant) are in good working condition.

3. Make sure he wears his hearing aids (or implant) all his waking hours, consistently. You will find some tips in the General Strategies section.

Begin at the Beginning

Do not skip any steps.

1. Begin at the
Begin (Get Started) page. Read the pages that link from there, such as the FAQ.

2. Get an overview of the program from the
ParentGuide page.

3. Use the
Parent Checklist to determine how well your child can listen, how much he understands, and what he can say, currently. This is a very important step and is the foundation on which you will help your child build his skills further.

Read the General Strategies

The General Strategies section, as the name implies, gives you some general strategies you can use when working with your child. It is a long list. Be sure to read the first eight strategies (up to "Teaching vs Testing") before you start doing the lessons. You can skim the others if you'd like. Don't worry, when you need to know a specific strategy to do a lesson, you will be directed to it at the right time.

Structured and Unstructured Activities

In a structured activity, you would have planned ahead what you are going to teach and which materials you are going to use. You follow a specific method and want your child to respond in a specific way. If he goes off in a tangent, you persuade him back into the planned activity. An example of a structured activity is when you sit at a table with your child; you say target words or phrases; he listens and repeats each one; he is then shown the corresponding object or picture; finally, the two of you talk about the object.

A structured activity is usually done sitting down, at the same time and place every day, for a specific amount of time. It is usually used to introduce a new skill. It is also useful to provide repetition and practice for newly-learned skills.

An unstructured activity is one where you use natural, daily activities to practice and reinforce skills learned during the structured activities. For example, let us say that during the structured sessions, your child is learning to pick out the correct object through listening. An example of an unstructured activity would be when your child is with you in the kitchen while you are cooking; you would, as part of the natural conversation, ask your child to hand you something (e.g., a spoon, salt, a vegetable) which he should do through listening. Thus, he would be practicing this specific skill as part of a natural, daily activity, without even knowing it.

Unstructured activities help your child to generalize his skills so that he begins to use them automatically throughout the day, not just during structured activities. Thus, both types of activities are essential for a child's progress.

When your child is very young, many of your teaching activities will be unstructured with very short periods of structured activities. As your child gets older, he will need more structured activities in order to teach him specific skills.

The lessons will tell you when and how to use structured and unstructured activities.

Auditory-Verbal Techniques

When you are doing a lesson, you may be asked to use a technique, such as storytelling or role play. In such cases, you will be directed to a page where the technique is explained. You don't need to learn all of them beforehand. These techniques have been grouped under the heading AVT- Auditory-Verbal Techniques and are available for your reference.

How Each Lesson is Arranged

1. Lesson Number and Name: For example, Lesson 105 is the fifth lesson in the Level 100 series.

2. Objectives: This section tells you briefly what you will be teaching your child. It is important to remember that every lesson has a goal. Share this goal with other family members as well, so everyone knows what the child needs to learn at any given time.

3. Points to Remember: This section gives some key points that may make this lesson easier, or identify pitfalls for you to avoid.

4. Method: This section will briefly explain how to do the lesson. This, along with the video clip, will help you get started. If your child is with a babysitter or grandparents or in a childcare facility for a good part of the day, it is important to familiarize the person who will be with the child to do these activities as well. Don't worry if you encounter difficulties and questions in doing a lesson. Over time, you will get the hang of it. Post your question in the Forum.

5. Modifications: The method section explains how to do the lesson with a typical child. The modification section tells you how to change the activity for an older child. Also, ideas on how to vary these activities to maintain interest, or make them a little easier or a little more challenging are given.

6. Video Clips: The method section will direct you to watch the clip. Some video clips may demonstrate a lesson activity. Others may give more detailed instructions and a commentary on the lesson. You may need to watch the video clip several times. (You can use the controls at the bottom of the video player to rewind and replay the video).
You need to have the latest
Flash Player (version 10 or later) installed to view the video clips.
If you have a Windows PC, use
Internet Explorer (7 or later) or Google Chrome browser.
(Firefox does not display the video properly)
If you have a Mac, you can use either Firefox for Mac or Safari.

Click the links to download the above software if you do not already have them.

7. What Next: This section of the lesson will tell you if there are any other activities you need to do to help your child become consistent and maintain the skills he has learned in this lesson. It will tell you how to know when your child has mastered the skills in this lesson and when to move on to the next lesson or group of lessons.

Planning and Preparing Lesson Materials

Before you begin a lesson, you should have planned the lesson and have ready all the materials you will need. Collect your materials and keep them in one place before you begin the lesson. As far as possible, make sure that you won't have to get up and walk around to get what you need. This will make your lesson go smoothly and your child can focus on what you are teaching without interruption.

The lessons will suggest lesson materials. For the most part, you can use what is easily available in your home. You can get pictures of all kinds from old magazines and books, and the implements you use in the kitchen can be excellent for teaching many listening skills. It is a good idea to save old boxes, cartons, scrap paper, and other items you may otherwise throw away. These can be put to valuable use when teaching a lesson.

Before You Begin Each Lesson

1. Check his hearing aids (or implant) regardless of how many times you may have checked it earlier that day! Instructions on how to do this are in Lesson 101

2. Always do a hearing check with the child wearing the hearing aids (or implant) before a lesson no matter how many times you have done it earlier in the day! Instructions on how to do this are given in Lesson 104

During the Lesson

How to sit: Sit beside your child ( not in front of him) at a table on the side of his implant or better ear. This way, you will be closer to his hearing aid/implant when you are talking, and his attention will be on the activity in front of him. This will also ensure that he is only listening to what you are saying and not relying on looking at your face and lipreading.

Keep materials out of sight: Keep all your materials hidden in a bag or box, or another accessible place where your child can't see them. During the lesson, take out the items one by one as you need them. This way, your child can focus on one thing at a time, and will not be distracted by all the materials. You need to stay in control of the materials during your lesson, but let your child play with the materials after the lesson is over.

How many repetitions for each task: Each lesson teaches a new skill. During a lesson, you will need to provide many repetitions for the same task. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 5 repetitions for a new skill. If your child is interested in the activity, continue for five more repetitions. If he tires after the first five repetitions, do an easier task for a known skill, then come back and practice the new skill for another five repetitions.

If your child gets really tired: Listening can be quite tiring, especially when learning a new skill. If your child gets fatigued near the end of a session and is getting frustrated, just do one more easy task for a known skill and finish when he is successful. Always finish a lesson on a positive note.

After the lesson: Do something special with your child after a slightly difficult lesson. This could be letting him play with a favorite toy, or something that the child really enjoys. Keep these activities as special activities you do after his lessons. At the same time, do not condition him to expect a special treat after every lesson. As the child's skills improve, his ability to get what he wants by talking will be a great reinforcement in and of itself.

Rewards and Reinforcements

In spite of all your efforts to make lessons fun and exciting, there are going to be times when your child is reluctant to practice skills that maybe difficult, not much fun, and require a lot of repetition. In such cases, it is okay to provide some reward as reinforcement, as long as it is done sparingly. Reinforcement works best when it is unexpected. It is also better for this reinforcement to be a special activity rather than a piece of candy or a new toy. Very often, all it takes is to follow a difficult or 'boring' activity with a fun lesson activity. Make a list of the lesson activities your child really enjoyed, and use these as reinforcement whenever you can.

Finally, it is important for your child to learn that not everything needs to be fun, exciting and interesting. Sometimes, it is necessary to do the boring, unpleasant, difficult tasks in order to reach a level of skills when the same activity becomes fun -- rather like practicing the piano scales. The sense of achievement that follows a hard climb is also important. Also, don't forget that a big, long hug for hard work done can provide lots of reinforcement -- often far more than a flashy toy or a piece of candy.

Work on All Three Skills in Every Lesson

Each lesson has a specific objective that focuses on either listening, understanding, or talking. This skill area is what you will emphasize and provide the most repetitions for during your lesson. However, during this lesson, you should also give your child opportunities to practice the other two skill areas.

For example, if your lesson objective is to practice discriminating single words (i.e., picking out objects from a group by listening to their name), you will be asking your child to pick out items at least 8-10 times. Here, the focus is in the area of listening. This, however, doesn't prevent you from practicing familiar skills in other areas during this lesson in an incidental and seamless manner. For example, you might use sentences such as "Whose turn is it ?" and "It's my turn" to provide practice for his understanding skills. He can practice his talking skills by asking you to pick out an object.

Don't get anxious about juggling so many things at the same time. Your teaching skills will develop over time. The lessons will instruct you appropriately. Watch the video clips repeatedly to see how this is done. Discuss your experience in the Forum.


Don't get overwhelmed trying to go too fast, trying to do everything all at once. You won't remember every aspect of doing a lesson right away. As you do the lessons over and over, read the instructions and watch the video clips repeatedly, you will become proficient over a period of time.

It usually takes parents 3-6 months to really get comfortable working with their child throughout the day using structured and unstructured activities. Go at your own pace.

Remember -- one step at a time!

Begin with the lowest numbered lesson in your child's reference level which you determined using the

The important thing is to begin!

The contents of this web page is available in Danish