Using Oral Deaf Education to Teach Deaf Children

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By: Kimberley Powell

What It is and How It Works
© Kimberley Powell, Oct 27, 2008

There are different degrees of hearing loss, and many deaf and hearing impaired children have some residual hearing.

By combining today’s sophisticated hearing technologies with intensive early intervention, oral deaf education builds a child’s confidence and life skills by teaching children to listen and talk.

The most common reasons parents quote for choosing oral deaf education are their desires to enable their children to speak for themselves and communicate with the world at large. Parents want their children to have every opportunity to pursue their lives as they choose, and they believe that the ability to interact with everyone – hearing as well as hearing-impaired – is critical.

How Oral Deaf Education Works

Beginning as early as possible, oral deaf education starts by bathing the hearing impaired child in language. This ongoing flow of language establishes communication patterns and focuses a child’s listening skills. It is hard work, and it requires much patience and persistence. In time, the child makes the connection between sound and meaning. With continued positive reinforcement, teachers and parents build on these initial sounds until children learn to say whole words, then sentences.

Deaf and hearing impaired children not only learn to listen and speak, but sing, play musical instruments, act, attend top colleges, pursue any career goals, and in general enjoy friends and family with little, if any, difference from hearing individuals. Oral deaf education may be provided in a variety of ways such as individual therapy when your child is very young and/or as a group of children.

Reasons to Choose Oral Deaf Education

Parents have many reasons for teaching a child who is deaf or hard of hearing to listen and speak for themselves. Here are a few of the most common:

  1. Educational professionals believe that children show a desire to learn reading, writing and math between the ages of 4 and 6. Reading and writing are much easier for oral children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  2. Education received during childhood is more important than that received later in life.
  3. Children absorb new experiences and knowledge.
  4. Oral children who are deaf or hard of hearing may have a wider circle of friends, hobbies and activities.
  5. Children who can speak orally may communicate more easily in a hearing world. Therefore, they may ask for directions, order a slice of pizza, without requiring assistance.
  6. Oral children who are deaf or hard of hearing may have an easier time interacting with their hearing family members.

Today, with the help of early diagnosis, advanced hearing technologies and early intervention, oral deaf education has proven that most children are able to learn to listen and talk. Oral deaf education is focused on the development of the whole child within the family and the community. In time, oral deaf education becomes a way of life, not just for the child, but for the entire family as well.

“Speech is the birthright of every child.”
Helen Keller

The copyright of the article Using Oral Deaf Education to Teach Deaf Children in Deafness is owned by Kimberley Powell. Permission to republish Using Oral Deaf Education to Teach Deaf Children in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

We have published this article with the express permission of Kimberly Powell

Our Featured Author: Kimberley Powell

Kim Powell holds a Master’s Degree in Speech & Language Pathology as well as certificates in reading Braille, Applied Studies in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Child Psychology, Acquired Brain Injuries, oral deaf education and Child abuse.

Over the years, Kim has had the opportunity to work with children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, acquired brain injuries & fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. During her free time, Kim volunteers at her local Children’s Aid Society, sits on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) committee for Resources for Exceptional Children and works as a child abuse prevention educator for the Red Cross. Kim values the opportunity to work with so many children and help make a small difference in the lives of children and families. She continues to advocate for a system that will guarantee that every child/youth – regardless of geography, parental income and the level of challenge access to quality support services that respond to their individual needs.

Please support of Authors visit Kimberly Powell’s blog HERE

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