Hearing-impaired children sometimes have a difficult time learning in a traditional classroom setting, where many activities involve oral speeches and dialogue between the children. Fortunately, there are a number of activities that can help hearing-impaired children be involved in the classroom and get as much out of learning activities as other students.
Other People Are Reading
Scholastic encourages role-playing, or "pretend play" to help engage hearing-impaired children and foster their interaction with other people around them. Also, acting something out or actually doing an activity is a powerful learning tool, as it will help children remember the event later.
Help Kids Hear recommends developing children's sound awareness by having them label items that make a lot of sound, as well as having them feel a vibrating object so that they make the connection between that movement and sound. While they can't hear the sounds, it will help them relate to other people if they have an understanding of what sounds others can hear.
According to Hands and Voices, one of the biggest challenges facing hearing-impaired children is a feeling of isolation from other people, since hearing-impaired people have difficulty engaging in day-to-day conversation. DeafEd recommends frequent discussion - including the hearing-impaired child - as a good activity. Accommodations, such as holding a discussion in an online forum or by writing on a piece of paper, may need to be made depending on the child's degree of hearing impairment.
Using Photos and Pictures
Hands and Voices recommends including photos or pictures in any activity to help include hearing-impaired children. A particularly good activity is what Hands and Voices refers to as a "picture walk," which is where an educator shows a child pictures or photos out of a book that they are about to read. This helps the child begin to anticipate the story based on the photos that they have seen, so that they can follow along better.
Whether a child can hear or not, singing with a group is a great way to help a child feel involved and included. Hands and Voices recommends singing and dancing with hearing-impaired children, and using sign language as necessary to help him or her understand the song. Teaching an entire class a song in sign language can be a fun activity that all children will enjoy. There are a lot of songs that already have well-known sign language components, including "Wheels on the Bus" and "I'm a Little Teapot."
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