Generally the aim will be to see the child develop oral language skills on a par or superior to their hearing peers.


An oral with NZSL support option focuses on a rehabilitative philosophy. Where it differs from an Oral with visual support approach is that the visual support is primarily the use of a small set of NZSL signs. Reliance is placed on these NZSL signs to scaffold the development of oral language.

It may use methods such as Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) to develop and strengthen a child’s oral language.

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 child has some cognitive or physical limitation to their hearing even after the best technology is applied.


  • ‘Normalisation’ of the child in his or her social 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 when there are no other family members with hearing loss – 90%+ of cases.
  • Likely to have some ability to communicate without a prosthetic device – fall back option in the event of a technology failure
  • Leverages multiple modes of communication
  • Some connection with the NZSL/Deaf community
  • More achievable for non-NZSL background family and friends to learn a limited set of NZSL signs


  • Risk of over dependence on visual language and subsequent under development of oral language
  • Research suggests that mixing language modes results in poorer expressive oral language production
  • Management of technology
  • Some dependence on a prosthetic device
  • Parents being able to learn NZSL fast enough
  • Can create confusion with grammatical foundations


[To be completed]

Resources for further investigation