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NAN: Working with Children Who are Hard of Hearing

Nannies who work with children who are hard of hearing or deaf should be knowledgeable about how to interact with the child and how to best foster his language and literacy development.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, a variety of communication methods are available and are selected by the family based on the needs of their child and family. Communication methods include:

Listening and Spoken Language (also referred to as Auditory-Verbal or Auditory-Oral) – The infant or young child is fitted with hearing assistive devices and is exposed to the language of the home through listening and talking, leading to spoken language in the home, school and among peers.

Cued Speech or Cued Language – This method utilizes specific hand shapes and placements around the face to clarify the ambiguity of lip reading.

American Sign Language (ASL) – The infant or young child is exposed to language through vision which leads to signed language in the home, school and among peers. ASL’s grammatical structure is different from English.

Total Communication – This method represents the simultaneous use of spoken language and English-based signed language.

Nannies should clearly understand the family’s preferred method of communication and work to incorporate it into her care plan. 

While it can be tempting to speak louder and over enunciate words when communicating with a hard of hearing or deaf child, nannies should speak in a normal voice with normal enunciation. A nanny can gently tap a hard of hearing or deaf child’s hand when she wants his attention and wait until she has it before she begins communicating with him.  

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Working with Children Who are Hard of Hearing