As their child’s first and most important teachers, parents hold the key to unlocking their child’s full potential. Each child who is deaf or hard of hearing has a unique potential for Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) and all parents have the capacity to help their child reach that potential.
Studies have found that children from language-rich environments, where parents and caregivers speak often using typical language, hear more complex and descriptive language. This impacts their school readiness and literacy. Providing a language-rich environment facilitates vocabulary development and pre-reading skills. For children with hearing loss, having a language-rich environment at home is essential to their success in the hearing and speaking world.
Young children learn language by hearing spoken language throughout their day. They are bombarded with language during every activity: play, mealtime, bedtime, getting dressed, etc. Children with hearing loss learn language the same way, but are often behind because they have spent time with either limited or no access to sound. These children need additional input of language to close the gap. When families are actively engaged in their child’s education, the benefits to their child are clearly observable and far reaching.
For many parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, mantaining a rich language environment at home can seem overwhelming. The teachers, therapists and audiologists at DePaul are committed to arming parents with the necessary resources to help their child(ren) succeed at home.
The first step is to ensure that children have optimal access to sound by wearing their hearing equipment all waking hours and reducing background noise. Then, it is time to immerse their child in a language rich environment. This can be done through narrating daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, eating, reading aloud, singing and playing games that use the child’s imagination.
DePaul’s Early Intervention programs include the Parent-Infant Program and the center-based Toddler-Parent Program.