A parent has just asked what toys and games are best for deaf children.
The answer is – exactly the same as for other children! All kids need fun, and if they learn at the same time, that’s a bonus.
Deaf children are visual, so bright toys and murals will attract and hold their interest. Learning through play is central to their early development.
Very young children will enjoy playing with mirrors, flashing and movable toys or tactile toys, all of which increase their understanding of the world.
For young children, alphabet blocks or letters, flash cards and word games are a lead-in to letters and simple words as their vocabulary builds.
The same goes for numbers. Fabric books with interactive bits are a fun way to teach early numbers. Abacuses, Connect 4, lotto and dominoes help, too.
Brightly coloured wooden blocks and shapes can be used to teach your child to count, their colours – and the name of shapes, according to their abilities.
Toys with moving parts or interactivity will be enjoyed and may help your child link an action and a result, such as “on” or “off”, “up” and “down”.
Interactive toys with a purpose – like “learning to dress” toys or dolls with shoe laces, buttons, zippers and buckles will teach your child independence.
A child-safe mirror is a fun way to teach your child the concept of names, as in “that’s (name)”, “this is (name)” or to practice speech pronounciation.
A great website that surfaced in my recent web travels has toys for all ages to make your child’s (and your) play time both fun and educational.
And – noisy toys are suitable for deaf children as a way to practice listening to and identifying different sounds. Not the reverse, as you might think!
Just make sure your child’s hearing devices don’t amplify the noise beyond discomfort, or to a level that could adversely affect their residual hearing.