Hesperian Health Guides

Different Ways to Help a Child Communicate

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.


HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Different Ways to Help a Child Communicate


COMMUNICATION BY SHOWING

a man speaking as a child leads him by the hand.
Show me!

HELP WITH HEARING AND SPEAKING

a child speaking while she and a younger child hold a ball.
Ball.
That's
right!
Ball!
Good girl!
Yaw!

LIP READING

COMMUNICATION BY PICTURES AND POINTING

a child practices lip reading while looking in a mirror.
mirror
a boy using a pointer on a helmet to choose from pictures of activities.

FINGER SPELLING

READING AND WRITING

finger spelling signs for the letters L O V E.
L
O
V
E
a child writing the answer to a question on a piece of paper.
See the finger spelling alphabet in English.

SIGN LANGUAGE

a woman and child speak while using hand signs.
“Talking with the hands”
Time to sleep!
Me?
Yes, you!

Oral communication

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

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
IMPORTANT! ‘Total communication’ as we use the term, does not mean that all the above methods are used for every child. It means that we try all the methods that might work for a child. Then we work with whatever methods will help the child communicate as easily, quickly, and fully as possible with her family and community. It is an approach for where there is no local sign language and is adaptable to individual and local needs.



This page was updated:19 Jan 2018