Free resources that can help you support your deaf child’s development and education in the early years (0-5 years)

Brian Gale, Director of Policy and Campaigns

Brian Gale, Director of Policy and Campaigns

Early years education from birth is critical for all children. It is particularly vital for deaf children to ensure that their ability in communication and language is sufficiently developed to be able to participate in teaching and learning in school and make friends and socialise. Parents and family are the most important educators of children at this stage of their life.

Below is a list of free resources that can help parents support their child’s development and learning in the early years. Please don’t feel overwhelmed by the volume of information available. Pick and choose what suits you best and digest in small bites. Please also don’t lose sight of basic key messages:

  • Learning should be fun
  • Several short sessions being better than one big long session. It’s better to stop when children are still happy in what they are doing
  • Learning takes place during normal day to day activities and playing games
  • Take every opportunity to communicate and talk to your deaf child ensuring they have the opportunity to express themselves (don’t hold back communication and conversation because they are deaf and encourage family and friends to fully engage with your deaf child. Take steps to ensure there is a good listening environment in your home and your child can make maximum use of their hearing equipmentSchools Fingerspellathon 09

Resources from  NDCS

The following resources can be accessed via our website or can be ordered from our helpline. Some of the resources are not available on the website unless you are a member of NDCS. Membership is free and you can sign up to become a member on our website.

Hearing technology

Our audiologist gives step-by-step instructions on how to keep your child’s hearing aids in good working order. There are 3 short videos lasting 3 or 4 minutes covering , how to change the tubing in hearing aids, how to look after hearing aids and how to manage whistling in hearing aids.

NDCS’s offers you a free loan of  radio aids for 3 months to see if it is suitable for your child. There is also a leaflet on how radio aids can help.

Family Weekends

NDCS runs family weekends where parents get together to discuss their experiences and learn about the impact of deafness and how they can help their child’s development.

NDCS publications on communication, language and learning

Helping your deaf child to develop language, read and write (3-4 year olds): This booklet provides practical ideas to help your child develop their language and early reading and writing skills. It includes information on creating a good listening environment in your home.

Communicating with your deaf child: This aims to answer the questions parents have asked about how to support their child’s language and communication development.

Communication Begins at Home DVD. For families with children aged under 3 years. It follows six children and their families on a typical day to see how they communicate.

Family Sign Curriculum: A resource for families who want to use BSL to help with communication. It teaches the signs and phrases needed for nursery rhymes, stories, playing make-believe games as well as the tools for practical communication about food, sleeping and nappy changing.

Playtime and deaf children: A guide to books, toys and other play resources for deaf children.

Helping your deaf child to develop early maths skills (3-4 year olds): This booklet will help you to develop your child’s understanding of maths through play and everyday activities.

Supporting the achievement of deaf children in early years settings and Early Years Matters DVD .These publications are aimed at professions in early years settings rather than parents but you may wish to ensure you child’s setting has a copy and is aware of the content.

For families in Scotland

In Scotland NDCS has received funding for an early support project “Your Child Your Choices”. Check out events that may be of help.

Other helpful Resources

Home Learning Programme: For parents wanting to develop their child’s oral  skills the Elizabeth Foundation provides a home learning programme.

Cued speech support: For parents wanting to investigate cued speech, information is provided on cued speech with babies and young child. Information can be downloaded at no charge but the Cued Speech Association does charge for some workshops.

Listen Up: Produced by the Communications Trust, games that promote communication.

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