Generally the aim will be to see your child develop oral language skills on a par or superior to their hearing peers.
An oral option focuses on a habilitative philosophy. In other words, your child’s language development will be similar to any other child. Intervention is applied to close the gap between a normally hearing child and remediate any areas of weakness.
It uses methods such as Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT).
This option is only appropriate if your child will be making full use of appropriate technology such as hearing aids, conductive aids and cochlear implants. Children taking this approach need to have full access to at least the ‘speech banana’ on an audiogram. It is preferable that this access is via both ears, although not absolutely necessary.
- ‘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 members especially when there are no other family members with hearing loss – 90%+ of cases.
- Research suggesting better oral expressive language production than mixed approaches
- Management of technology
- Long term complete dependence on a prosthetic device
- Limited ability to connect with the NZSL/Deaf community
- No fallback position if the technology fails
Resources for further investigation
- Why not Baby Signs?
- 101 FAQs about Auditory-Verbal Practice
- The Hearing House
- Southern Cochlear Implant Programme
- Hear and Say Centre (Australia)
- AVT Position Paper
- Large study on child cochlear implant users and language choices
- Elizabeth Kirk, Neil Howlett, Karen J. Pine, Ben C. Fletcher. To Sign or Not to Sign? The Impact of Encouraging Infants to Gesture on Infant Language and Maternal Mind-Mindedness. Child Development, 2012
- Great Expectations: Progress with a Cochlear Implant
- On Facebook search for “DEAF KID Talkin’“
- New Zealand and Australian research on language outcomes – media release