Family communication is one of the most difficult decisions parents make for their deaf child as it will shape their life and personal identity both as children, and as adults.
Four Communication Options
Most parents know they want their child to learn to listen and talk, while others will choose sign language or a mix of the two. Clicking the blue reference chart (left) will give you all the communication options with family responsibilities, training and goal outcomes.
Factors Influencing Decisions
Several factors affect your child’s language options: their age of detection, their level of residual hearing, actual hearing-devices used and their age of accessing spoken words.
Outcomes for deaf children depend on their infant access to sound, family home educational environment, preschool early education, any developmental issues, supports received and consistent follow-up at home and at school.
Parents must fully research the communication option to best fit their family. It is the family’s right to make this decision.
Check the blue communication options reference chart above, to inform your decisions.
- Read all you can about your child’s deafness, and the different types of communication open to you, as a family.
- Talk with other parents of deaf children: what are their experiences?
- Ask your consultants about their experiences with children who have a similar hearing loss. What communication options do these children use?
- Think about meeting deaf adults who use the communication methods you’re looking into.
Ideally, parents should choose one communication option and try it with their child for six to twelve months. Then, your experiences and progress can be reviewed and evaluated together with your team of professionals.