Support for language acquisition and speech
The most important function which gets affected due to hearing loss is the natural language acquisition and speech. However language development is vital as it is the basis of communication. It is the most important factor in the all-round development of a child. It is the basis of most learning, not only in the formal aspects of education, but also in the development of character, emotional state and social relationship of the children. The questions are ‘who should develop language and how it should be taught to the children’.
Parents of a hearing impaired child may therefore interact and talk to him as naturally as they would do with hearing children. They should remember
- Ensure hearing aids are used by the child.
- See to it that the hearing aids are functioning optimally.
- Talk to the child most naturally preferably in a slightly slower manner ensuring that the child is looking at you.
- Consciously label the things around him.
- Converse on all the incidents and activities going around him.
Throughout the day there are plenty of ideal moments to give a hearing impaired child an opportunity to acquire language, these are: getting up, washing, bathing, dressing, undressing, cooking time, meal time, going out to the market garden or zoo, visiting friends, playing, going to bed etc.. These are the times when the phrases used have real meaning and so the parents could help develop vocabulary, meaningful language structures and communication skills in the hearing impaired child.
Toys and books are the most interesting things which would help parents to initiate conversation and also to provide language to the gestures the child uses while playing and browsing through the books.
Other enabling actions
While these activities are continuously going around at home parents should pay sufficient attention to the following:
- Take the help of special teachers to plan out the educational programme of the child.
- Enroll the child in an appropriate educational programme either in an integrated (regular school) or segregated (special school) set-up depending upon the child’s ability and achievements.
- Be a part and parcel of his/her daily lessons at school and inculcate listening, speech reading and reading skills.
- Meet the school teachers as often as possible to carry over and to follow up classroom teaching.
- Learn the techniques used by the teachers in the class-room to teach language and follow them at home.
- Discuss about your queries and doubts with the teachers. Also discuss any intimate daily happening, celebrations, outings within the family so that there is a carry over of the same in the class–room teaching.
- Be more supportive to the child in his/her success as well as in failures.
- Be a teacher and facilitator for learning and make the child independent and self sufficient.
- Motivate the child to interact with everybody around him/her.
- Inculcate good values and develop a sound moral character in the child.
- Help the children express themselves freely and involve them in all family interactions.
- Participate as equal partners in the education of your – children.
Source: Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped