The earlier children learn to lipread, the better chance they will have it as second nature. Some tips to remember when teaching your child to lipread:
- Reading books together develops language, and teaches lip-reading
- Hearing devices will support your child’s “processing” as they lipread
- Learning to differentiate between vowel sounds is vital to lipreaders
- If your child doesn’t “get” one word, try a word with the same meaning
- Do not raise your voice or exaggerate words if your child is processing
- Facial expressions and non-verbal cues make sentences easier to read
- Use clear context in sentences for the child to make out specific words
- Numbers, dates & names can be tricky for lipreaders, so have patience
- Rephrase sentences that may be too difficult to “read”, first time round
- If one point is hard to convey, add cues with gestures or finger spelling
Lipreading ability is known in babies of four to six months, due to children’s brains having high plasticity and being programmed to learn new things.
Most people can lipread without knowing it, which suggests the skill can go unrecognised. At primary school, hearing children may be able to lipread through a window when they try, or to talk silently across the classroom.
Some wearers of eye-glasses and contact lenses say conversation is easier to follow when their lenses are worn. Similarly, verbal deaf people may be easier understood by others in a big group if what they’re saying, is visible.
(compiled by Nicola Fox)
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