Thursday, 7 March 2019

World Book Day: Teaching deaf kids to read.

tips to teach your deaf child to read
Whilst signing is useful, reading is essential, one set of ideas that may help your child to read better. Remember, poor literacy is a far worse disability than being deaf.

The key to teaching reading to any child is to make it FUN! Learning to read doesn’t have to be a dreaded process for you or your child. 

Start early. Your infant can begin to enjoy picture books as early as six weeks–which is about when their vision sharpens. Keep in mind, books need to be held no more than 10 inches away during the first three months. As soon as each of my babies were a few weeks old, I brought out picture books with simple objects and just one to a page. Before my kids could even sit up, they would become excited at seeing the same books over and over. 

Often, my husband and I would team up to read, with one of us holding the kid and the other reading and signing. When our kids were a bit older, one of us would read out loud while the other held the book and followed along pointing at each word. We often alternated our methods in a variety of ways depending on each child’s development and skill. Not only did we strive to develop their language skills, we worked on auditory skills with whatever auditory ability they had. 

Even kids with profound losses can appreciate books that focus on sound–using drums, vibrations, visual lights flashing, etc. Be as creative as you can in showing your child the visual and auditory world around you. In the Tub One of the best places to teach reading is in the tub. This is the perfect place to keep your child in one place for a while and have some fun learning to read. Occasionally I would also bring in treats like ice cream bars or popsicles (you can make healthy ones!) The best reading tool is a set of foam letters. Yes, that’s right. A cheap set of foam letters. I taught all three of my kids to read during bath time. Start by teaching them to recognize each letter. 

Once they know the alphabet, play “Hunt for the Letter” by tossing all of them into the tub at once. “Where’s the A?” “Where’s the P?” You can use cueing, fingerspelling, or flashcards to show the letters you’re looking for. Have your child put each letter up on the bathroom wall as they find them. The next step is to start spelling out short words. Cat. Dog. Mom. Dad. Pig. And so on. I had a whole collection of plastic animals that we used in the tub. Here’s a way to vary the activity and encourage kids to think. Put up the word “Cat.” Then hold up an “M” and a “H.” Now ask your child, “Which letter would turn this word into “Hat?” If your child has some difficulty, then use visual cues, props, flashcards, cueing, or fingerspelling. 

Do this with a variety of easy words. Around the House Grab a 100-pack of index cards and a marker. Label things around the house. Once your child has mastered the words, substitute the cards with more complex words or similar words. This works great for families with multiple languages. Yes, deaf and hard of hearing kids can learn more than one language. The key is to provide access in a way that the child can comprehend, process, and understand language. Use Books with Pictures for Wordstips to teach your deaf child to read One of my kids’ favorite books was “Picky Nicky.” 

This book was a bit more advanced for the beginner reader, but the beauty of this book was each sentence had one or two pictures in place of words. I would read the words and pause at the pictures. This gave my child the opportunity to fill in the word by looking at the picture. It was a great way to involve them in reading longer books and allowing them to participate in the reading. Read more: Tips for establishing a bedtime routine for deaf children Cooking + Readingtips to teach your deaf child to read If you have a kid who won’t sit still long enough to get through a book, another way to teach reading is through cooking. Yup, that’s right, cooking! Use the back of a brownie or cake mix to teach reading. Most box mixes have pictures as well–showing eggs, a measuring cup, etc. Ask questions like, “Can you find the word, ‘Pan?’” “What temperature should I turn the oven on?” “How many minutes do we need to bake the muffins?”

Let your child scan the box to find the answers. On the Road tips to teach your deaf child to read One of the first signs my kids learned to read was the “stop” sign. “Oh look, there’s the stop sign,” you say as you come to a stop. “S. T. O. P. Yup, that means stop. So I’ll need to stop here.” Yes, that sounds cheesy when you say it, but hey, you’re teaching your kid to read everything, everywhere you go. As they get older, you ask for help in finding certain exits. “I need to watch for the exit for Lawrence,” you say. “Can you help me find the exit that begins with the letter, L?” Do this within a mile or two at first. 

For more fun, start out on a trip with a list of words to find and cross them off as you pass them by. Other Reading Tips:tips to teach your deaf child to read When your child begins to learn to read and knows a few words from a favorite book, read along by pointing to each word and then stopping in puzzlement at a word that your child knows. Give them a chance to recognize and read the word–kids love to help adults and share what they know! When your child has a comprehensive understanding of a book, you can also have some fun by misreading a word and waiting to see if your child catches your mistake. This is also a way to test your child’s understanding. 

Another fun reading activity: alternate sentences when reading familiar books. You read one, your kid reads the next one. Pick books that fit your child’s language development at the time. If you notice your child has a passion for a certain sport or activity, select books around those topics. Don’t be afraid to read books that are above your child’s reading level. The more words you expose your child to, the better!

Sister launches vlog in Makaton to aid brother

BSL app for deaf signing shoppers.

This access only applies to BSL users, not to all deaf people. Sign Solutions is a BSL dedicated area.

Bromsgrove District Council has paid £1,500 so town centre businesses can access British Sign Language Interpretation services through an app to help deaf shoppers, writes Kirsty Card. 

The council is working in partnership with Alvechurch-based Sign Solutions on the project which will be done on a 12-month trial. The app will include a video call feature to a sign language interpreter who will help the customer and trader to communicate more effectively. 

Sign Solutions’ managing director Clare Vale said she was delighted the district council was implementing the services which would be of huge benefit to the town. “Making communication for deaf people accessible on the high street is no longer the sole province of banks and building societies. “We are finding there is an increasing awareness from major retailers and independents who want to ensure there is a level playing field for all their customers to find out about and access their products and services.” 

Sign Solutions is working with consortiums of retailers, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), town centre managers and local councils. The scheme launched in the town on Wednesday and some local businesses have already signed up, including Bayleys of Bromsgrove, Giinger Boutique and Decanter Spirit. Coun Karen May, the council’s portfolio holder for economic development, said: “There are always more reasons to shop in Bromsgrove as the town continues to grow and develop. “This latest initiative means even more people can access our wonderful array of shops, cafes, restaurants and service providers like banks and building societies.” 

100s more deaf children to get CI's.

Benjamin's life has changed since receiving his implants (Joanna Wayne/ PA)
Hundreds of deaf children and adults will receive hearing implants on the NHS after changes to official guidelines. A review of eligibility criteria by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) means many more will now benefit from the technology. 

The mother of a four-year-old boy who was refused cochlear implants by the NHS said she was “delighted” by the announcement. Joanna Wayne, from Carshalton in South London, launched a campaign which raised £80,000 to fund her son’s “magic ears”. 

Since undergoing an operation last April and having his hearing “switched on” in May, Benjamin’s speech has improved significantly. Benjamin's life has changed since receiving his implants (Joanna Wayne/ PA)Benjamin’s implants mean he can now hear music (Joanna Wayne/PA) “I am delighted at the news of the updated criteria from NICE,” Ms Wayne told the Press Association. “Since being switched on, Benji’s life has changed so much. “With hard work and specialist speech therapy his speech understanding and production has improved dramatically. 

 “He can hear music, songs and is learning phonics in a mainstream school with hearing classmates. “I am so happy for all the other children that will now benefit from this life-changing technology.” Benjamin's mum Joanna is delighted that more children will now benefit (Joanna Wayne/ PA)Benjamin’s mum Joanna is delighted that more children will now benefit (Joanna Wayne/PA) Ms Wayne believes her son Benjamin might have been eligible for implants on the NHS under the new guidelines. Severe to profound deafness, used to identify if a cochlear implant might be appropriate, was previously defined as only hearing sounds louder than 90 decibels without hearing aids. 

 The updated guidance recognises it as only hearing sounds louder than 80 decibels without hearing aids, at two or more frequencies. It is estimated that around 1,260 people in England receive cochlear implants each year. NICE said that this number could increase by 70% to 2,150 by 2025, as a result of the updated guidance.

Sensorineural Loss cure in sight?

There are currently no drugs available that treat hearing loss. At present, patients have to opt for hearing aids or cochlear implants, which don’t address the root cause of hearing loss. Damage to the sensory hair cells in the cochlea – known as sensorineural hearing loss – is a major cause of hearing loss acquired later in life: 90% of cases of hearing loss are sensorineural. 

Overall, 1 in 6 people in the UK – and around half a billion people worldwide and over 360 million people worldwide – have hearing loss. Hair cell loss has long been thought to be irreversible, but various earlier studies in animals indicate that functioning inner ear sensory hair cells may be regenerated through the use of a small molecule substance called a gamma-secretase inhibitor. 

Now, researchers at UCLH’s Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) and UCL Ear Institute are leading a trial – being undertaken by the REGAIN (Regeneration of inner ear hair cells with gamma-secretase inhibitors) consortium made up of partners in the Netherlands, UK, Greece, Germany and Denmark – to test a drug in patients with hearing loss based on these studies.

Professor Anne Schilder, director of evidENT at the UCL Ear Institute and NIHR Research Professor, who is supported by the National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre and is leading the design and delivery of the REGAIN clinical trial, said: “We are proud to be part of the REGAIN consortium and to be leading on translating this scientific breakthrough into a treatment that may improve people’s hearing and lives.” 

For ‘phase 1’ of the REGAIN trial, which took place throughout 2018, the clinical research team at RNTNEH gave the drug via injections to the ear to 15 patients with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss, to test the safety and tolerability of the drug. Researchers at UCLH and UCL – along with sites in Germany and Greece – are now moving on to the next stage of the REGAIN clinical trial: a ‘Phase 2 study’ which will test the efficacy of the drug in 40 adults with mild to moderate adult-onset sensorineural hearing loss.