Hesperian Health Guides
Different Ways to Help a Child Communicate
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COMMUNICATION BY SHOWING
HELP WITH HEARING AND SPEAKING
COMMUNICATION BY PICTURES AND POINTING
READING AND WRITING
|See the finger spelling alphabet in English.|
“Talking with the hands”
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Oral communication (communication by mouth) combines helping a child use her limited hearing as much as possible, with lip reading, and with learning to speak. In many countries, schools for deaf children teach only oral communication. Unfortunately, oral communication usually only works well for children who can hear the differences between many words, or for children who became deaf after they learned to speak.
Total communication is an approach that encourages a child to learn and use all the different methods that work well for that child in her particular community, especially if there are not sign language speakers who can help a child develop a complete language. This might include any (or all) of these:
- the child’s own gestures
- sign language
- drawing, reading, and writing
- finger spelling
- whatever hearing the child has, to develop lip reading and speech