There are two notable differences when teaching a hearing-impaired child compared to the traditional way of teaching language. First the choice of vocabulary taught is different. Second, the correctness of word order is different too.
Teaching at the Vocabulary or One Word Level
First, your choice of vocabulary is important. Customarily, words that are easy to say or lip read are usually taught first. Words like shoe, bow, tie, boot etc. are commonly taught with an emphasis on lip reading. On the other hand, children taught through auditory stimulation would likely say button first rather than bow. This is due to the inflectional pattern of button that is more stimulating to the child’s hearing.
Then there is the use for functional words. Auditory approach makes the early vocabulary of functional words possible. Words that a child uses to communicate everyday experiences but are very far off from the words said in the vocabulary lists devised for deaf children. Much of these words are not proper names or nouns.
Some of the first words are: Bye-bye, More, Oh, All gone, Off, Nice, Rough, Up, Uh-huh, Down, Hi, Ow, Hot, Cold, Light, No, Yummy, Yah, Pooie, Peeoo, Stop, Cut and Knock-knock.
While the first phrases include: open the door, I heard that, pick it up, bad girl, bye-bye in the car, daddy shop, I love you, come here, thank you, and peek-a-boo.
Developing First Nouns is the third critical point. When the child is already active in the communication process, it is recommended that the parents target a word that they perceive that the child would need. When the child is already able to recognize five to ten sounds associated to toys and a few functional words the development of symbolic language of the child should be accelerated.
The Circle Of Speech
The child’s vocabulary development could be illustrated in circles. The core skills comprise of basic listening experiences and pre-speech activities; and gestures. If the child possesses these skills, the therapist can proceed to the next level and teach him names like mommy, daddy, doggie, baby and a few verbs like listen and push, few adjectives like loud, hot and more and a few nouns like hat, cookie etc.
Fourth is the ability to developing language units. If the therapist would consider the child’s interests, it would be easy to plan language units. A few of these units are derived from the child’s everyday environment.
Body parts are one good example of language units. Words like eye, nose, and hair are words that a child can easily learn due to the association of his body. Family names are another example of language units. The child easily picks up words such as mama, Dada, and the names of his siblings since these are the people that he is exposed to most of the time.
Another language unit criteria can be food. Basic food related words like apple, candy and yummy can be taught. Verbs are also another kind of language unit. The therapist can teach words like cook, stir, drink, and jump. This can be done by doing the actions themselves so the child can easily pickup the concept.
School related words could also be a unit. Words like teacher, and his classmate’s names are a good start. Animal words, like dog, cat, kitty, can also be one separate unit, coupled with some sounds associated with animals.
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