Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 3: Guidelines for teaching language
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A child who is deaf or cannot hear well learns to communicate by seeing. He will not learn words like others do, just by listening to people talk. He needs a longer time and more help to learn a language — whether by watching and listening to people talk, or by seeing them sign. He may start earlier than other children to pay attention to written words. When he sees written words, such as his own name, he can make the connection between a word and its meaning.
The guidelines in this chapter can make it easier for parents and others to teach children how to use a language. Try using these guidelines while working on the activities in this book.
Helping deaf children learn a language is the most important thing that parents and others can do. Even if people generally do not talk to children as they do their work, your child needs everyone to make extra efforts to speak to her. Communication is the only way she will learn.
Sometimes parents may feel ashamed of a child who cannot hear well. Or the child may be protected too much. But a child needs to take part in her family's activities. Being left alone will stop her from learning many things.
Throughout the day, look for opportunities to communicate with your child. Include her in activities with other people, so she gets used to seeing and hearing different people communicate. Encourage the whole family — brothers, sisters, grandparents, and other relatives — to do this too.