I’m interrupting regular programming to publish something that I hope will reach and touch the people it needs to. First, here are some things you might not know about me that will explain why I care about this topic: when I’m not blogging about zero-waste and upcycling, I’m writing for a living and writing songs for fun. Words and music have always been central to my sense of who I am. I have a PhD in applied linguistics, I was a reading teacher for seven years and I spent two years writing marketing copy for educational toys, classroom and special-needs products. And, most importantly, I have an almost-6-year-old girl in my world. I'll call her Ms R.

So this topic is close to my heart. It’s about the importance of communication with children and the things that can get in the way. For example, what happens when hearing parents discover that their child can’t hear them? 

I didn’t give birth to Ms R, but I’ve been part of her life since she was conceived. I was there for all the pregnancy milestones. Every birthing class, scan, “mandatory” test and potentially scary result.

And then her birth, ultimately by c-section because she was, stubbornly, breach. Would she be ok? Healthy? Ten fingers and toes? No one tells you how many scary moments there are leading up to a birth. And how many more there are after, waiting for the developmental milestones: will she see us? Hear us? Talk and crawl and walk when she’s supposed to? And the relief when she began to communicate, first with simple sign language then, right on cue, with words.

I was home full time with Ms R from around 4 -11 months. I talked to (at?) her. Played music all day and danced with her. I read her books and talked her through pictures. I talked to the border collie in front of her. We went on long walks, listened to the birds and the cicadas and the wind. And touched everything. We sniffed everything in the spice rack for fun because I liked the idea of a smelling game. But mostly, I depended on sound and language. And just assumed she was hearing me. What if she couldn’t? I studied American Sign Language along with numerous other languages. I could have learned it again. But that’s not really the point. The point is, *I* value sound and language so much… I know I would have wanted her to hear.

That’s why I’m helping to spread the word about Cochlear’s new I Want You To Hear website.

In operation for over 30 years, Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, providing products (cochlear implants, bone conduction, and acoustic implants) that are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. Cochlear has helped over 450,000 people worldwide have access to sound. I Want You to Hear is a rich new resource for families of children with hearing loss. The site provides parents with the online support, information, and the connection they are looking for around hearing loss.

Communication is, arguably, the crux of everything in parenting. And an essential step in every parent’s journey is working towards linguistic milestones. Cochlear knows this and is passionate about helping parents work on language development with their children. For example, they recently hosted a Facebook chat with Thirty Million Words - an initiative to close the language gap that encourages parents to slow down, Tune In, Talk More and Take Turns.

I'll be back later this week with more upcycles and zero-waste ideas. Meanwhile, please help spread the word about Cochlear's great new resources for parents. Especially if you have your own story to tell about hearing loss. And follow Cochlear to stay in the loop:

Website: IWantYouToHear.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Cochlear
Twitter: @cochlearUS
YouTube: youtube.com/user/CochlearAmericas

This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions are my own.

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