Families (and adult cochlear implant wearers) routinely ask Sound Advice to recommend apps at different stages in their path to digital hearing – often for the first time.
Speech & language development have close links to early literacy skills, therefore parents and caregivers who actively read and talk with their children are likely to raise keen readers.
Phonological Awareness Boosts Literacy Levels
Phonological awareness (see app list) refers to a child’s awareness of the sound structure of spoken words. This skill emerges when a child hears words spoken and/or read aloud.
With today’s digital hearing devices, deaf children can have phonological and phonemic awareness like their hearing peers and sometimes better, due to active listening habits. In short, children with early awareness of how sounds form words, merge this ability into their reading skills with positive benefits for their later spelling and creative writing abilities.
Childrens’ Language Gap Seen In The UK
Conversely, children (all abilities) who don’t gain phonological awareness from listening and talking with parents or caregivers, risk starting school unable to speak properly. In fact three quarters of primary-school teachers in a UK survey reported that the reception-aged children in their care were not able to speak in full sentences or to follow simple instructions.
Apps And Recommendations For Screen Time
Speech therapists advise parents to have back-and-forth conversations with their infants, interspersed by screen time and app use to reinforce the learning from their recent interactions. Direct parent interaction, after all, is how babies learn up to 90% of their vocabulary.
Here’s a list of apps for listening and language skills, from a cochlear-implanted parent of a cochlear-implanted child, to use at home for different contexts and learning purposes.