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Sensori-Neural hearing impairments and their affects on language development in children

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Introduction

SENSORI-NEURAL HEARING IMPAIRMENTS AND THEIR AFFECTS ON LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN The focus of this study is to discuss language difficulties in relation to children with sensor-neural hearing impairments. It will also include how practice can be organised to facilitate the development of oracy skills, which is the development of speaking and listening. Language difficulties can affect different aspects of language. These include expressive, receptive and central difficulties. Expressive difficulty is when children find it difficult to put words together to make sense even though they have understood what has been said to them. Receptive difficulty is when children can easily make themselves understood but find it difficult to understand what is said to them. Central difficulty is when children have difficulty communicating with others as well as understanding what is said to them but are able to show by their non-language skills that they have a good ability. M. Warnock in Special educational Needs defines 'Children with speech and language difficulties' as "Children whose language development is delayed, those who have severe problems of articulation, those who are dsyphasic and those who have other communication difficulties" (Warnock: 1978 Pg 218) As stated in the Handbook for Pre-school SEN Provision "Speech and language difficulties refer to expressive language and comprehension as well as the ability to communicate in a variety of settings. (C.Spencer and K Schnelling 1998: Pg 62) Sensori-neural hearing impairments occur when the inner ear fail to respond to sound or the hearing nerve fails to carry information to the brain. Sensori-neural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and is the most serious. This is because once damaged they cannot be repaired, only alleviated at least partially by hearing aids, although hearing aids only restore the missing loudness and do not restore missing clarity. Most children will benefit from a hearing aid with a sensori-neural hearing impairment, although a cochlea implant is available for some that do not gain benefit from conventional hearing aids. ...read more.

Middle

Fraser (1990) states there are three modes of communication, which have all been used in the education of children with hearing impairments. They are Oral, Sign Language and Total Communication. (R.Guillford 1992 pg. 140) The Oral mode is split into two main approaches, the 'traditional oral' and 'Auditory oral. The traditional method is focused on the development of language through lip-reading. The auditory method focuses on the hearing aid, the child is listening although there is no attempt to teach language skills. "Early and consistent use of residual hearing will enable the child to develop listening experience which will facilitate the acquisition of the language experience and cognitive skills necessary for the interpretation of spoken language" (R.Guillford and G.Upton 1992 Pg. 141 Sign Language is used by many that have a hearing impairment. It is now a recognised language and is used in its own right. Children with hearing impairments may use Sign Language as their first language and then go onto learn their mother-tongue as their second language. The only draw back in the above is that the child may be 'fluent' in Sign Language and the child's parents/guardians may not understand Sign Language at all. This may prove difficult in speaking to a child and also the child may not be able to communicate to his/her peers which may prove frustrating and the child feeling lonely. Although on the other hand if the child's parents do sign, the child will obviously benefit from this and communication will be enhanced between them. Some feel that Sign Language is not necessary, this very much depends on the individual, there are many different ways to communicate. It could be said that Sign Language is inferior and could discourage development of speech although Sign Language has its own vocabulary and grammatical structure. It gives a child the chance to communicate, to talk and to listen. The most obvious point which results in the above is that perhaps a variety of Sign and Oral language is essential. ...read more.

Conclusion

As well as the points discussed above which involve classroom strategies other issues which need to be taken into account when considering children with hearing impairments is planning, this involves the preparation of subject material, presentation of information to pupils and interaction between children to develop learning. It may be possible to prepare the child for the lesson beforehand, different strategies to ensure that the lesson material has been though through and carefully detailed in order for the child to understand and follow everything through whilst in class. When considering speech and language difficulties, it is important that teachers are clear about the learning objectives, they know what language skills they are trying to develop as with all activities. An important issue includes the importance of their language and how they communicate to the children. As seen above, sensori-neural hearing impairments affect language development and children may find it difficult to communicate and develop language. Early identification is necessary when a child has a hearing impairment, this way depending on the severity, the child can be helped in the best way possible. If a hearing impairment is detected early, effective teaching and the use of hearing aids/cochlea implants can help language acquisition. The teacher's role is to help any child as much as possible and despite the disability, the teacher is there to make the most of a child's education. As the majority of children with hearing impairments have 'hearing' parents, it seems that the oral method is the most preferred, this is linked to the view that if a child learns to talk, they will be part of a 'hearing' community. A child with a hearing impairment who has the ability to learn to speak and to understand speech in theory should be given the opportunity to do so. Which way to communicate with a hearing impairment very much depends on the child, every child is unique with his/her needs, desires and personality. The most important factor is facilitating communication in the best way possible and to ensure the child has a variety of tools to communicate. ...read more.

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