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How Your Child Learns in School and at Home

Read this section to find out how your child's hearing loss might change the way she learns best.

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Children with a hearing loss might learn in different ways than children with normal hearing. Or they might need extra help to learn.

All children learn in different ways. They learn from watching people, reading books, and trying new things. Children with normal hearing also learn from listening. They hear so much information every day. They listen to people sitting on the bus, at the grocery store, and the teacher at school. They listen to conversations at the dinner table, even when it is not meant for their ears. And they learn from talking to friends.

Children with a hearing loss can learn, too. They can do very well in school and in life. Many deaf children finish high school and go to college and graduate school. But they miss all of the learning that happens from listening. They need to learn all of this information in different ways.

How your child learns
Not all children learn the same way. Some children learn best by reading about something. Other children learn best by trying to do something on their own. Some kids learn better by themselves, and other kids learn better by working in a small group.

Your child probably learns a lot from the things she can see. Many children with a hearing loss use things they can see, or visual cues, to help them pick up what they miss from their hearing loss.

Children who use sign language use their sight all the time to say what they want to say, and to understand what other people say.

But children with a hearing loss who don't use sign language still use their sight to help them learn. For example, your child might watch what the teacher writes on the blackboard very carefully. Or she may watch the teacher's face for speechreading cues to help her understand what she sees and hears.

You know your child best. So you know better than anyone else how she learns. Tell her teachers how she learns best. Write it on her IEP, too.

Tell your child exactly what you want her to know.
Children need to learn about things other than math, reading, and science. For example, children need to learn about their family.

Every family has their own rules. Like putting your dishes in the sink after dinner, or not using certain bad words. Families have different beliefs too, like religious beliefs, or believing that it's okay or not okay to have sex before marriage.

Children with normal hearing usually figure out these rules and beliefs as they go along. Without even trying, they pick up information about their family by listening to conversations at the dinner table, or in the car. But children with a hearing loss might miss this information.

Help your child learn all of the family's rules and beliefs by telling her about them very clearly. You will probably need to say things that you wouldn't spell out for a child with normal hearing. If your child doesn't understand the first time, try to tell her in a different way. When your family is talking about a rule or belief, try not to say things like, "I'll tell you later" to your deaf child. You might forget later, and your child will feel left out.

Just make sure to explain the family's beliefs to your child. This way, she'll learn the rules are, and she'll know that she's an important part of the family!

Learn more about how your child learns

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NIDCD

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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