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How can I help my child communicate?


There are a variety of ways to help children with hearing loss express themselves and interact with others. The main options are listed below. The option you choose will depend on what you think is best for your child. Find out as much as you can about all of the choices, and ask your doctor to refer you to experts if you want to know more.
Auditory-oral and auditory-verbal options combine natural hearing ability and hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants with other strategies to help children develop speech and English-language skills. Auditory-oral options use visual cues such as lipreading and sign language, while auditory-verbal options work to strengthen listening skills.
American Sign Language (ASL) is a language used by some children who are deaf and their families. ASL consists of hand signs, body movements, and facial expressions. ASL has its own grammar and syntax, which are different from English, but it has no written form.
Cued speech is a system that uses handshapes along with natural mouth movements to represent speech sounds. Watching the mouth movements and the handshapes can help some children learn to speech-read English; this is especially important in discriminating between sounds that look the same on the lips.
Signed English is a system that uses signs to represent words or phrases in English. Signed English is designed to enhance the use of both spoken and written English.
Combined options use portions of the various methods listed above. For example, some deaf children who use auditory-oral options also learn sign language. Children who use ASL also learn to read and write in English. Combined options can expose children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to many different ways to communicate with others.

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