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Monday, January 14, 2013
Speaking skills crucial for hearing impaired kids in classroom
Intelligible speech closes the gap between
hearing-impaired children and their normal-hearing peers, Tel Aviv University
special education laws are geared towards integrating special-needs children
into the general classroom environment from a young age, starting as early as
preschool. Prof. Tova Most of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner
School of Education and the Department of Communications Disorders at the
Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions says that these laws present a
unique set of challenges for children with hearing loss, and that a sense of
isolation may inhibit a successful education.
a study designed to explore the social competence and the perceived sense of
loneliness of children with hearing loss in a regular classroom with normal
hearing children, Prof. Most and her fellowresearchers discovered
that successful integration is dependent on a child's level of speech
intelligibility. The results have been reported in the Journal
of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.
findings suggest that development of intelligible spoken language has the power
to close the gap between children with hearing loss and their hearing peers,
resulting in increased social interaction, an improvement in group work, and a
change in the teachers' and students' perception of the child with hearing
loss, adds Prof. Most.
the needs of each child
her years of research and in-field experience into account, Prof. Most says
that there is an advantage to integrating children with hearing loss with
hearing children, provided that their special needs are met. Each child must be
assessed on whether to be integrated individually or in a group, she counsels,
noting that a "one size fits all" strategy could be harmful for some
prefer to see kids integrated into the regular school system, allowing them to
be closer to home and interact with children in their neighborhood. They would
then have access to broader programming and activities," she says. But if
a child's spoken language and cognitive abilities indicate that a regular
classroom would be difficult for him or her, pushing integration could result
with hearing loss, parents and specialists can aid successful integration by
focusing on speech development, advises Prof. Most. And teachers can also do
their part to create a more welcoming environment by creating small work groups
and setting up meeting points in advance so the child won't be left out. The
more children with normal hearing are exposed to those with hearing loss, the
more understanding and accepting they will become, she says.