Most speech and language therapists are not specialists for hearing impairment. They are great at speech delay in children or post stroke adults, but the child with little hearing is a different skill. Lay on top of this the child with no hearing and Alice needs very specialist help. We now have two SALTs (speech and language therapists) one given to us by the PCT who will come every 3 weeks and one that we will pay for privately (Christopher Place). In time, Alice will also have therapy as part of the CI programme.
So what do they do. Ultimately, they are looking at communication. All agree that Alice has no speech currently and is unlikely to develop much pre-implant. So we need to work on her non-verbal communication (playing, sharing, pointing etc) but also giving her a framework to communicate. We need to teach her “signs” for things she needs and wants. It will be a bastardised version of makaton and cued speech and will be specific to Alice. We are also putting together Alice’s book, which will have all of her favourite things, so that when she wants mummy, daddy, joseph, milk or mouse she use the picture as well.
Signing is not our long term solution, speech is, but we want her to tell us if she’s hungry or thirsty and we want to “talk” with our daughter.