Communication is one of the most difficult decisions parents have to make for their deaf child as it will shape their life both as children, and as adults.
Many parents know they would like their child to learn to listen and talk, while others will opt for sign language. Others may consider bilingualism (using ISL as a first language, with written English as a second language).
Read this Communication Options Chart >>
Several factors will affect your child’s language options, especially their age of identification, their degree of deafness and their age of amplification (with hearing-aids) or cochlear implantation.
Not all deaf children are the same: their educational environment, other developmental issues, supports received and consistency of follow-up at home will all impact their future prospects.
Ideally, parents should choose one option and try it with their child for six to twelve months. Then, your experiences and progress can be reviewed and evaluated together with your professionals.
Parents must fully research the communication option to best fit their family.
Here’s a chart that may help your decisions. It uses American terms but for Irish parents, the ASL and Oral columns may be most relevant.
1) Read all you can about your child’s deafness, and the different types of communication open to you, as a family.
2) Talk with other parents of deaf children: what are their experiences?
3) Ask your consultants about their experiences with children who have a similar hearing loss. What communication options do these children use?
4) Think about meeting deaf adults who use the communication methods you’re looking into
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