TULSA — A line table and shelf of toys at Jacque Scholl's Tulsa audiology office is filled with toys, games and books aimed at helping kids to develop listening skills even though few are actually designed for that purpose.
“A lot of kids just never learn how to listen,” Scholl said. “Today kids are so glued to iPads and video games, and we are so willing to just give it to them.”
When she adopted her hearing-impaired daughter, Jayde, from China a year ago, Scholl learned there is a market out there for games and toys to help develop listening skills.
Just last week a case of 1,000 copies of a new game developed by Scholl arrived at her midtown office. The game, called Crazy Pants, is hopefully the first in a new line of toys under her Chatterbox Toys label.
Scholl said she started developing the game in April, taking what she knows about working with children and designing a game around it.
The game features a handful of brightly colored boards with articles of clothing, and parents and kids can work on activities such as matching and sequencing.
Scholl works with hundreds of kids every year, some with significant physical hearing problems and other children who seem delayed in developing hearing and speech as they pass their toddler years.
Her office also treats teens and adults with hearing problems, but by that age patients have already developed listening skills.
For proper development, kids need to start listening actively in the early years, she said.
“These are things that a lot of parents start doing early, even talking to newborns,” she said.
Crazy Pants, which sells on the Chatterbox website for $20, features articles of clothing because they are items that every kid understands early.
She hired an illustrator to develop the concept.
The games are produced by a Chinese company because, Scholl said, it is the only firm that could offer them at a reasonable price.
However, she said, the sturdy game pieces are safe enough for any kids.
“You can take a lot of the concepts here and apply them to any game,” Scholl said.
Scholl said she sells toys and games from her office because a few speech- and hearing-therapy lessons every month won't go very far toward solving problems with young children.
“I tell parents that I'm just a coach that can teach them how,” she said. “The actual therapy needs to take place every day at home.”
Right now the Crazy Pants game is only available on her website, Chatterboxtoys.com.