Generally the aim is to see your child proficient in both oral and visual languages.


A Bi-modal/Bi-lingual option focuses on a supportive and adaptive philosophy. It uses a mixed or dual approach to learning two languages. In a New Zealand context the visual language is likely to be NZSL.

This option is only appropriate for those making full use of appropriate technology such as hearing aids, conductive aids and cochlear implants. Children taking this approach need to have close to full access to at least the ‘speech banana’ on an audiogram.

This may be a more appropriate option if your family has members who already use NZSL.


  • Your child is able to communicate in both an oral and NZSL setting
  • Full access to education without needing additional support – if started early enough
  • Follows the ‘normal’ developmental flow for language, reading and writing
  • Ability to connect naturally with wider family especially where there are both oral and NZSL ‘speakers’
  • Minimal dependence on a prosthetic device
  • Is ability to communicate without a prosthetic device
  • Connection with the NZSL/Deaf community


  • Risk of under development of oral language – particularly in families without a strong NZSL background
  • Parents being able to learn NZSL fast enough – if they don’t know NZSL already
  • Research suggests that mixing language modes results in poorer expressive oral language production
  • Management of technology
  • Can create confusion with grammatical foundations


[To be completed]

Resources for further investigation