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Communication Choices

Characteristics of Children as Communicators  Although 19 out of every 20 infants diagnosed with permanent hearing loss are born to families of hearing parents, learning to listen and speak can be very challenging for some children, especially those with multiple learning issues. This resource can help families and early intervention teams identify developmental issues that can impact the method or communication choice that may be most effective to use with a child.

Communication Building Blocks There are a multitude of resources available that describe the different communication
choices or continuum of communication modalities that may be used by children and their communication partners to develop language. This resource presents different aspects of communication as building blocks that can be combined and recombined based on the child’s learning style, desired mode of the family and changing communication situations. It is meant to introduce the concept of communication choices in an unbiased manner and emphasizes that any choice of communication modality can change as the child develops.

Communication – whatever fits the child and family

There are many resources available that provide information about how a family can communicate with their child. In addition to the information below, families are urged to contact Hands & Voices, a parent-driven organization that understands and has information to support you as you consider communication choices.

Communication Options – Overview: Ways to Communicate with a Child with Hearing Loss  Describes what communication choices or communication options means and provides a short summary and resource links. Brief information is provided on each of the communication choices as follows:

Click here for video samples of different communication choices/options.


Strong Opinions

There are a large number of people who are very committed to the idea that all children with hearing loss should learn sign language. There are also a large number of people who are very committed to supporting every child in learning to listen and use spoken language. Below are two articles that discuss these differing views. Again, whatever communication option a family will use consistently is the correct choice for the family. The brains of babies and young children are programmed to learn the language (or more than one language) that is made accessible to them. As the child develops and learns, their style and rate of learning may result in the need to rethink how the individual child may learn to communicate best.

Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language?   Proponents of sign language

Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language?   Proponents of listening and spoken language