For this two-part post, the mum of a five-year-old boy who was implanted this year, shares details of their favourite apps for language development. Part Two of this post, will follow next week.
My PlayHome is an interactive doll house for the iGeneration with a kitchen, living room, garden, children’s bedroom, parents’ bedroom and a bathroom. The characters eat, sleep, shower, brush their teeth and more. It’s a great way to teach listening skills and develop spoken language while growing the vocabulary the child has. You can say… I see you are cooking the dinner? What are they having for dinner? You are seeking to increase the action words, such as cooking, chopping, stirring, feeding, sitting at the table.
This App’s Strengths:
- Increasing vocabulary and discussing what the characters are doing
- Encouraging fine motor skills, while teaching cause and effect
- Listening skills and turn-taking in children
- Leading-in: teeth brushing can lead to a story about the dentist
We use this app with our son (aged five), whose implant was activated in March 2012. He is profoundly deaf in both ears. Our main aim is to teach our son to learn to listen, to understand what he hears and to follow instructions.
We say to him, covering our mouths or looking away so he can’t lip-read!
- Put the baby into bed
- Brush the boy’s teeth
- Pick an apple from the tree
We lengthen the instruction, like “put the baby into bed and put a hat on the mommy’s head”. He listens to the instruction and follows through. We also get him to repeat what we have asked him to do, without his lip-reading.
If he is struggling, we let him lip-read and try again, repeating without him seeing our mouth. This app has sounds. A tap running, for example. We turn on the tap without him looking and ask him, what can he hear? This way, he gets to label words and sounds, to recognise when they’re heard again.
* Sound Advice’s view: Children with hearing issues can need up to four times the repetition to learn and retain verbal discourse (even with hearing-devices). Apps like this are ideal for learning and reinforcing new words and language, as the child has essential context for the words and enjoys the interactivity.
(contributed by Julie Anne Cunneen)
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