Hesperian Health Guides
Children with a lot of hearing loss often depend partly on lip reading to understand what people are saying. But lip reading is not easy to learn. Do not try to hurry the child or she (and you) can easily get discouraged. Do not start teaching lip reading until the child is at least 3 years old.
Sit in front of the child in good light, and show him something, for example, a ball. Say “ball,” moving your lips clearly and speaking slowly. Let the child see your lips move, and watch your face. Repeat the same word many times.Then have the child try to imitate you, and feel his own lips as he does.
Next, sit with the child in front of a mirror, so that he can see both of your faces. Say the word ‘ball’ and then have him copy you, watching both of your lips and faces in the mirror.
|Be sure the child is watching your lips.|
In this way teach him different words. Start with words where the lips move a lot, and that are easy to tell apart. Pick words that you can use often with him in games and daily activities. When you speak to him, make sure he is watching your face and mouth. Use hand signs when he cannot understand a word. But use the sign after speaking the word, not at the same time. He cannot watch both at once.
You can play games with the child together with children who hear, using ‘mime’— that is, acting things out and saying words with the mouth, without making sounds.
Unfortunately, some sounds and words look exactly the same on the lips—the sounds ‘k’, ‘g’, and ‘h’ look the same. ‘P’, ‘b’, and ‘m’ look almost the same. ‘T’ ‘d’, ‘s’, and ‘z’ look the same. And so do ‘ch’ and ‘j’. To help the child tell similar words apart, use hand signs or give him small ‘clues’, like touching parts of the body, clothes, or food. For example:
|If mama wears a dot on her forehead,||and papa has a scar on one cheek,||when anyone at home speaks of them they can also give the ‘magic sign’.|
Where is mama?
Papa is plowing.