Will my child speak?
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.
- Early identification and intervention
- Early and appropriate amplification (hearing aid) which is used continuously and with adequate training
- Absence of other additional handicaps
- Early and ongoing professional help
- Adequate socio-economic status of the family
- Well informed and motivated parents with adequate time and energy for home training
- Ample exposure to speech and language at home and at school.
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.