Deaf children don’t absorb spoken vocabulary or language as their hearing peers do. Instead, their parents, guardians and/or carers are responsible for this early learning.
Spoken language acquisition at an early age is crucial for deaf infants with digital hearing-devices, especially in Irish households where both parents can work outside the home.
Talk During Your Daily Routines!
Time-strapped parents can wonder how to fit their child’s language development into daily routines – but it is achievable with some creativity and planning.
The trick is to build spoken language-learning into existing daily routines, as described in this e-book. Simple activities like going to the supermarket, setting the table, mealtimes, baking cookies or playing are a great source of new words and descriptions.
Generally, work-at-home mothers have more contact with their child, which allows a bit of leeway with their spoken language-development activities.
Working mothers may need to advise carers such as crèche workers, childminders and/or grandparents on ways to develop their childrens’ spoken language.
A Few Language-Teaching Ideas
Mealtimes: the names of foods, colours and utensils can be taught, such as milk, cup, spoon, fork, bread, cheese, peas, biscuit, yogurt. As your child progresses, adjectives like hard cheese, soft bread, orange cheese, flat bread, can be introduced.
Bedtime: basic words like bed, teddy, toothbrush, pyjamas, book, story, bathroom, bath, shower, can be built into the routine for later expansion.
Supermarket shopping: while your child is in the trolley seat, teach the names of food items and later on, descriptive words like orange carrots, long, round, cold, soft, net, box, etc.
Laundry sorting: a great time to teach your child the names of clothes items and sizes (little, big, large, small, long, short) and who owns what.
Water-play provides words like hot, cold, wet, dry, soap, towel, bubbles, and later, soapy, dripping, splashing, spilled/spilt, and so on.
Reading, especially “first word” type books, helps your child link pictures to words – but they must already know that items have names.
Find Language In Everything!
Try not to overload yourself or your child, but to find language in everything and make the learning process fun. It’s quality time of the best kind …