Children who have difficulty hearing need opportunities to learn how to listen and speak. Provide activities that encourage communication and language development. Children can develop important language skills with practice. Activities with very little verbal interaction are also very important. Art activities and block play offer good opportunities for satisfying play without heavy demands on language or communication.
- does not respond when spoken to
- does not startle at loud noise
- does not wake up in response to sound
- coos or gurgles, but does not progress to saying words
- does not talk very much or at all
- talks, but is impossible to understand
- leaves out many sounds when talking
- talks in a monotone voice
- seems unable to follow verbal directions; often says "huh" or "what" - requires repetition
- interrupts conversations
- seems unaware that others are talking
- may hold head so that one ear is turned toward speaker
- alert and attentive to things that can be seen; disinterested in those he is expected to hear
- talks in a very loud or very soft voice
What can you do:
- Cut down on background noise from the radio, dishwasher, etc., when you are doing an activity. Use carpets, rugs, drapes, and pillows to absorb excess sound.
- Make eye contact before you start to speak. A gentle tap on the shoulder usually will get a child's attention.
- Talk in a normal voice. Use gestures and facial expressions to clarify your message.
- Provide earphones or set up a special area where a tape recorder can be played at a higher volume.
- Teach children in your program to use gestures and sign language.
- Encourage a child to talk about what she is doing. Ask open ended questions that will invite the child to practice using language.
- Use stories, songs, and finger plays to enhance language development. Repeat favourite rhymes and songs to encourage confidence in developing language skills.
- Provide children with visual cues. For example, label shelves with a picture of toys to facilitate easy cleanup. Use pictures to illustrate the steps of a recipe during cooking activities.