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The most important function which gets affected due to hearing loss is the natural language acquisition and speech. However language development is vital as it is the basis of communication. It is the most important factor in the all-round development of a child. It is the basis of most learning, not only in the formal aspects of education, but also in the development of character, emotional state and social relationship of the children. The questions are ‘who should develop language and how it should be taught to the children’.
In order to answer both these questions the simplest thing is to recollect how hearing babies have acquired language. The hearing baby acquired or learnt it from the parents and the family members around them through constant exposure and interaction. Parents unconsciously teach and reinforce the language. It is an established fact that the hearing impaired child also has the same innate capacity to learn language as a hearing child but the reason that he has not learnt it, is because he has not heard the language around him.
Parents of a hearing impaired child may therefore interact and talk to him as naturally as they would do with hearing children. They should remember
Throughout the day there are plenty of ideal moments to give a hearing impaired child an opportunity to acquire language, these are: getting up, washing, bathing, dressing, undressing, cooking time, meal time, going out to the market garden or zoo, visiting friends, playing, going to bed etc.. These are the times when the phrases used have real meaning and so the parents could help develop vocabulary, meaningful language structures and communication skills in the hearing impaired child.
Toys and books are the most interesting things which would help parents to initiate conversation and also to provide language to the gestures the child uses while playing and browsing through the books.
While these activities are continuously going around at home parents should pay sufficient attention to the following:
Parents are child’s first and natural teachers and all children almost always learn language from their parents. Correspondence courses are therefore designed for parents to assist them in handling the difficulties that they may encounter in developing communication and language skills in their children. Parents are provided with a Home Study Plan for input in language development, so that they could provide a language stimulating environment at home during their child's early life i.e. 0–5 years, as it is critical period for language acquisition.
At present such correspondence courses are available at many organizations in various languages. A few addresses are given here:
Most of such correspondence courses are free of charge for the parents.
These programmes aim at catching the hearing impaired very young. Such programme intend to monitor overall development of the concerned child. The philosophy is to expose the young children to a language stimulating environment so that the hearing impaired children acquire natural language. The crux of this programme is parent empowerment. As the name suggests, parents along with their infants are enrolled in the programme and parents are trained to undertake different techniques to help their infants acquire language which if not developed at this stage, can lead to difficulty in acquiring formal education at a later stage.
Such Parent infant Programmes are available at a few centers in India. Some of the centers are:
For children diagnosed and intervened at a very early stage and most importantly who have developed functional language could be included in regular pre–school programmes. However assistance from special teachers or resource teachers would be required so that the child develops good reading and writing skills and a continual language enhancement programme.
Children diagnosed late or those who have not developed adequate functional language are enrolled in Special pre–school programmes. In special schools, special teachers help children build a strong foundation of language which would ease out the formal education in primary and secondary school, again, either in an integrated setup or in a special school depending upon the child's achievements. Teachers in special schools develop conversational skills by using various techniques. Special pre–school curriculum to suit the needs of the children is devised and activities such as directed activity, story telling, guided play are contrived to develop receptive and expressive language in the pre–school hearing impaired children.
Special pre–school programmes are conducted at AY.J.N.I.H.H., Mumbai and its regional centres and at many of the special schools across the country. A model pre–school curriculum for Young Hearing Impaired Children is available at A.Y.J.N.I.H.H.
Children either from integrated pre–school programmes or from segregated special school programmes are enrolled in regular primary schools. Hearing impaired children follow the same curriculum as prescribed by the State Board of Special Education in a state, but are entitled for language exemption and from oral evaluation. The assistance from a resource teacher or a special teacher will help the hearing impaired child progress at par with his/her hearing counter parts.
Children who have still not developed good language and communication skills and need more assistance in reading and writing continue primary education in special school. Special teachers design individualized education plan and develop curriculum to meet the individual needs of the special children. In addition to the curriculum as laid down by State Education Board, special teachers undertake activities to strengthen the language both receptive and expressive.
Children from integrated primary schools or from special primary school may be placed in secondary school. Secondary section in a special school may not be available due to several reasons. Sometimes, special schools do not get permission to run secondary school from the concerned State government. Hence children may have to enroll in integrated secondary schools. There also is high rate of school dropouts at this point. Parents are advised to be alert and look for options available so that the education is not discontinued.
The curriculum followed is as prescribed by the concerned State Board of Education, however the hearing impaired children get language exemptions and need to take optional subjects against exemptions.
Children who for one or the other reasons could not be integrated in a regular primary school continue their secondary education in a special school. In addition to the State Boards curriculum of secondary education, they get language exemptions. Most of the special schools also have classes to teach pre–vocational skills.
The National Open School provides an educational opportunity to children persons who wish to pursue further education but cannot do so in a regular school system. It provides continued education to the handicapped children, especially dropouts from school. For this purpose NOS has set up Special Accredited Centres for the Education of Disadvantaged (SAIED) at various places.
Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped is one of the accredited centres catering to the continual education of hearing impaired children. It offers two programmes – The foundation course and secondary education in two mediums Hindi and English.
Public exams are conducted and secondary school certificate is given after successfully completing the course. The special feature is that the student can appear for only one subject per year in the term of five years i.e. students can study at their own pace.
Hearing impaired who have successfully completed secondary school from a recognized Board of Secondary Education either from integrated regular secondary school or special school or NOS are eligible for admission to Higher Secondary School. Hearing Impaired children are eligible for language exemption and can opt for other optional subjects.
Hearing impaired children who have successfully completed secondary school from a recognized Board of Secondary Education either from integrated regular secondary school or special school or National Open School are eligible for admission to higher secondary special school. Such schools are currently available only at Chennai at:
Hearing impaired persons who have completed higher secondary education from integrated (regular)/special school from recognized Board of Education are eligible for admission in regular college or can enroll in IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) for higher education.
Segregated special colleges are also available at:
A Few Educationally Relevant Common Doubts of The Parents of Children With Hearing Impairment
Parents in general are often confused about how to raise their children. Parenting is a big responsibility and for those who are keen to do a good job, doubts and queries are part of the game. Parents of a hearing impaired child are no exception. In fact, they have more doubts and worries but mind you they also can have more challenges and more number of happy moments.
The purpose of this interaction is to discuss some of the common doubts parents have been reported to have bumped into suddenly. We intend to answer all your questions or clarify all your doubts. But many a times life is quite complex. There are no straightforward or simple answers to many of our questions. Many a times the answers are so simple that we fail to recognize them. Come then, let us interact and learn to face life in a better way.
Do you have any of these doubts?
Remember, there are many things beyond your control and you can do nothing about it. But there are many more things you CAN do.
I am concerned about my child's education. I want him to be successful educationallay. Where do i begin?
Accept and acknowledge following facts.
The meaning of the word success can be different for different individuals, can be different in different context. You define ‘success’ of your child within the framework of the strengths and weaknesses of your child. Don't have unattainable goals but more importantly don't underestimate you child.
Success can depend on several factors. Involvement of parents is one of the most important factors. *For more information Click on ‘ROLE OF PARENTS IN EDUCATION’
Tips for beginners: (For those parents who have recently come to know about the impairment of the child.)
Deal with your negative emotions like anger (Why me? Why my child?) helplessness (‘This is the end of happiness! Nothing can go right!’) or fear (What do I do now? What will happen to my child?).
You can do it. Most of the other parents have done it. Don't waste time in blaming anybody for anything. Help yourself pass the phase of negative feelings quickly and positively. Don't pamper your guilt or frustration and don't let it grow.
Pull yourself and face life which has most probably become more challenging and more meaningful. ACCEPT YOUR CHILD AS HE/SHE IS. It is absolutely important, only then your meaningful education that of your child can begin.
Get all the relevant testing done
Try to know most of the important clinical detail's about the nature, degree and type of hearing loss. Discuss it's adverse effects on the child's development and what you can do to prevent them. Ask queries and clear your doubts with the professionals with whom you are in contact. He/she can be a special teacher, an audiologist or a speech therapist.
Talk to your child constantly
Work at home
The Actual educational plan can vary from individual to individual. Your child's present age, nature/type of hearing loss, his/her previous educational experience etc. are various details we would like to have before we suggest anything. But, inspite of these details there are things you have to know:
Of course he/she can! if your child has additional impairment then he needs to undergo several other tests and you will have to set your goals differently. Otherwise our response to your question can be ‘why can't he/she study?’ There are several types of adverse effects of hearing loss. The primary and the worst among these are it's effects on development of speech and language. The problems of communication especially with speaking and listening (understanding ) are so obvious and visible that it gives the impression that the child is unable to do many things which he/she can actually do. Studying is one of these things. There are various educational programmes available for the hearing impaired children. (click on ‘Educational Programmes’ for more details). Appropriate option has to be selected by parents and professionals.
There can be various shades of this question which are:
Fortunately the answer for all these questions is ‘YES’ but only if you as a parent, play a very positive role.
This is one of the most common questions that the professionals come across. It is quite natural that parents are concerned about speaking ability of the child. Generally, speaking is considered to be the ability which distinguishes human beings from the other animals. Speech not only helps us communicate our ideas but it also links us with the society. Moreover, the inability of the hearing impaired child to speak clearly may lead to teasing by other children. Parents are concerned about it and hence the question ‘will my child speak?’ Yes your child can most certainly speak but there are a few buts and ifs. This is so because the success of a hearing impaired child in general (which includes ability to speak) depends on several factors. If these factors are present only then higher achievements can be expected.
Deaf are not dumb! There is nothing wrong in the speech organs (like tongue teeth etc.) of the hearing impaired individual. But since he/she is unable to listen to what others are speaking, the child is unable to speak. With hearing aids and training hearing impaired children too can speak. How fast and how quick your child can speak, heavily depends on various factors given above but most importantly, it depends on you. As parents you can do wonders with your child. Several parents have done it.
We have said two things, speech is important for human beings and our hearing impaired children can attain it. But we also said that speech skills are attainable only in the presence of conducive conditions. What if due to some reasons your child has failed to attain it?
It's NOT the end of the world. You must have come across several hearing impaired individuals who do not have intelligible speech but are leading a fully functional, personal and social life. It's nice that you are concerned about speech but also focus on language. Also be concerned about your child's reading and writing skills.
Role of formal education in the modern world is second to none. Education facilitates the development of an individual – development that touches all the personal and social aspects of human life. This needs no further clarification since we all agree to it. Parents generally take education as a means of providing a vocation to their child. Do you think the role of education is only limited to providing a vacation? More subtly, education also gives confidence, mental strength and scientific temperament. It opens doors to the world of knowledge. An individual with hearing impairment is no exception to all this. He too needs to be touched by education. But education has much more to offer to a hearing impaired child than to any other non-impaired child. With non-impaired children most of the early development whether -personal, social, intellectual and language - is quite automatic and spontaneous. In case of hearing impaired children deprivation of language can have adverse effects on various aspects of development. Education works towards preventing these adverse effects or at least helps lessen their impact. Education for the hearing impaired has knowledge as well as language goals. This is necessary for all-round growth of the child. Moreover, there are chances that parents too get guidance i.e. from the special educators. With the help of such guidance, home training can lead to better results. To conclude, education will not only take good care of your child's future but will also empower you as a parent.
No, absolutely not. It is a common misunderstanding among people that hearing impaired students use different textbooks. Hearing impaired children also have to read same History, Geography, Science or Mathematics. Hence there is NO NEED of different textbooks. However, education for the hearing impaired especially in a special school differs in several aspects like:
An educated parents does not have to be told about general importance of his/her role in the upbrining of the child. We all know and fully accept it. But is the case different with a child with impairment. We believe your role is much more crucial if you have a child with hearing impairment. Please click on 'Role of Parents in Education of the Hearing Impaired' for more details. At this point we would just introduce you to the following diagram which emphasises the fact that a hearing impaired child can achieve greater heights only if parents, professionals and community play their role positively and interactively. As a parent you will have to initiate such collaboration with community on one hand and professionals on the other.
It is easy to say that parents should play their role positively but what does that exactly mean? Following are the specific tips for parents to enhance the quality of home training:
What are the appropriate household activities that can be effectively used for talking to a child?
The list is never ending and we cannot think of a single activity which cannot be used for talking to the child.
Prioritize your time and activities. You are basically busy because of your duties and responsibilities in the home and outside. You may therefore find it difficult to spare time for your child. But it is essential whether you are a mother or a father that you spend at least an hour with your child. This is apart from the time you give to satisfy your child’s routine needs like feeding, bathing, etc. For this, we suggest that priorities of routine activities have to be straightened. What is important and essential can become compulsory part of routine activities. Spending specific and special time for your child HAS to be part of your daily routine – as essential as cooking or going for your job. If you understand this you WILL BE ABLE TO SPARE TIME.
It is very important for you parents to know about the efforts of hearing loss on the development of your child. Biologically hearing loss merely means inability to listen. But inability to listen is not as simple or straight forward as inability to see. Listening is essentially linked with speaking (we learn to speak what we keep hearing). The primary and the worst adverse effect of hearing loss therefore is considered to be on communication skills in general and on language in particular. Hearing impaired children, especially those who have profound hearing loss in both the ears since birth - find it difficult to acquire language as automatically, effortlessly and swiftly as any other non impaired child. Because the non impaired child has acquired language early in life, it can enter the school and can readily face formal education. It is this language which is not adequately developed in a hearing impaired child that creates multiple problems in its life. It is the lack of language skills that turns hearing loss into hearing handicap.
Inadequate language has its adverse effect on all aspects of human development. This may include intellectual, educational, social, personal, emotional and vocational development. In India where network of services is poor and awareness among society is less, hearing impairment may also affect family life, interpersonal relationships, recreational avenues etc. From educational point of view, all this is very important since all these areas of human functioning are closely linked with education. As a parent you must try to prevent hearing loss turning into hearing handicap. Always remember.
When a person is suffering from cough and cold, many people advice different things to cure it. People also argue about whether allopathy is effective or homeopathy or Ayurvedic medicine. Why does this happen? Not because people like to argue but because the problems thrown to us by life are essentially complex. People differ in their approaches to attack these problems. This leads to various controversies in the field. Any profession that is dealing with human beings inevitably attracts such controversies and special education for the hearing impaired is no exception. We have several controversies which are often discussed by parents, professionals, media and policy makers. At present, let us discuss about two of these controversies:-
You can click on appropriate options for further details.
Let us begin by knowing the meaning of the two terms. Segregated education is education in special schools designed especially to satisfy the needs of the hearing impaired students. This may include both specialized manpower and specialized infrastructure. Such schools have specially trained teachers who are supposed to use specialized techniques, methods, aids and appliances to teach. Such schools also include acoustic and architectural designs which are tuned to the needs of the hearing impaired.
On the other hand integrated education is education of a hearing impaired child in any school which is for non impaired children – popularly but quite incorrectly known as ‘normal schools’
Although the concerned controversy is popularly known as integrated versus segregated education this kind of classification is quite incorrect. Integrated and segregated types are like two poles and in between fall several other options. Segregation may mean complete specialized professional input. Integration may mean complete absence of specialized professional input. But most of the educational porgrammes are of neither type. These vary in terms of amount of specialized input and amount of social/communicative integration with the hearing world. Ideally, educational integration includes a resource unit and a resource teacher. Resource unit is the unit that is supposed to take care of the hearing impaired students needs in a non special school. Under the supervision of such resource unit educational programmes are planned with various degrees of integration/segregation. There can be hearing impaired students who sit with non impaired children in a classroom only for co-curricular activities, or for science/maths or only for social studies.
The controversy generally revolves around what is better for the hearing impaired children. Unfortunately, we don’t have any ready made answers in terms of what is better and what is not. However, we draw your attention to following points which help you form your own opinions.
One does not have to select a particular type for a life time. There are children who go to special schools for foundations of education and then, more readily move on to integrated education. Most of the special schools too aim at integrating their students. On the other hand there can be students who try integration initially and shift to a special school.
Whichever type of school the parents select they have to be alert about some things. If a special school is considered, check whether the teachers are professionally trained and the school has adequate aids and appliances. It is advisable to avoid the set up where children with different types of impairment are placed together in one classroom. If an integrated set up is being considered, then look for a school with resource unit. One has to be fortunate to find such a school in the close vicinity. If such a school is not within the reach, then at least the school has to be selected where school authorities and teachers are cooperative and are willing to try educational integration more positively. There is some reading material available at AYJNISHD(D) for such non special teachers who have hearing impaired child/children in his/her class. In many states under the scheme of Integrated Education for the Disabled, orientation and training is provided to teachers and school authorities.
Persons with Disabilities Act (Equal Opportunities, Protection of rights and full participation, 1995) provided various concessions and facilities to the hearing impaired children so that these children can cope better in an integrated set up.
You can view more details on Concession and facilities.
To conclude, both integrated and segregated set ups are required to deal with hearing impaired children with varying kinds of clinical and non clinical background. Education is a must for any child the and the hearing impaired child is no exception. Whichever the type of education, it must smoothly lead the child to become a fully functioning individual – an individual whose potentials are developed fully and whose social interactions are fruitful. One cannot completely guarantee what will work with which child. We therefore have titled the controversy as integrated AND segregated education rather than integration VERSUS segregation.
Normal hearing, non impaired children acquire the speech and language skills automatically, swiftly and quite early in life. With a hearing impaired child language development is not as easy as that. Since hearing capacity is directly and closely linked with speaking, problems in hearing inevitably lead to problems in speaking. Although there is nothing wrong with the hearing impaired child's speech organs, he/she is unable to acquire speech and language skills automatically. Because of this, it is common experience of all of us that most of the hearing impaired individuals we meet are unable to speak clearly. Hence the hearing impaired are incorrectly knows as ‘deaf & dumb’. Actually the deaf are not dumb – they can learn to speak if they are taught rigorously by parents and professionals. But, because of the inherent nature of the problem, the hearing impaired (at least who have profound hearing loss in both the ears, since birth) cannot acquire speaking and language ability EFFORTLESSLY.
What then is the solution of this problem? Different scholars have tried attacking the problems, differently. Hence the controversy – oral versus manual mode of communication. There are scholars who think that since speech CAN be developed it SHOULD be developed. Speech can be developed successfully only with a lot of preconditions like the child has to be tested very early in life below the one year age or even six months, it has to be fitted with hearing aid immediately after that, its rigorous training must begin by professionals and parents etc. Therefore, some scholars believe that rather than trying to develop speech, sign language can be introduced to the hearing impaired child. According to them LANGUAGE is important more than speech and hearing impaired individual can function fully well without speech. Sign language is like any other language ( and not a mere collection of gestures) - Hindi English or Marathi having its own grammar. Only, instead of speaking, manual mode (body movement – hand movement) is used.
A few basic facts about this controversy are given here: