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Teaching deaf to read

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jan 15, 2002 at 8:55:02 PM
Subject: Teaching deaf to read

I am wondering if someone can help me in teaching my 6 yo profoundly deaf son to read (he doesn't have an implant). We are h.s. and I am just wondering if there is some 'program' for teaching reading out there that I can use for him. Or do I just con't trying to teach him words by sight as I have been doing. How will he decode words when he learns how to read? I have been making a ring with the words that he knows looped on it thru a hole I punched. He has soooo many words that he knows, but how do I put that into 'reading'? Do you have a suggested list of books I could use?
TIA for all your help!!
Jan

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jan 16, 2002 2:23:58 PM

Hi, Jan,

I tried to reach you on the other site. If your son is unable to have an implant and he is profoundly deaf, he will basically be a sight reader. Generally, these students finish high school with a third to fifth grade reading level. Children who have cochlear implants (as young as possible) and proper auditory-verbal therapy can learn to decode and go much farther in reading because they can decode new multi-syllable words.

The reading program (sight) created for deaf children is called Reading Milestones and was sold by Pro-Ed (www.proedinc.com) the last time I looked. Feel free to email me if you have other questions.

Janis

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jan 17, 2002 8:57:54 PM

Reading Milestones is still sold by Pro-Ed and they have considerably expanded it too.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jan 18, 2002 2:35:17 PM

JAN! don't listen to predictions that sound dreadfully demoralizing...I worked with a guy years ago whose mother ignored all she was told and taught him lipreading 'ANYWAY' even though she was told 'he'll never make it in the hearing world'! HE DID...of course, we lost touch cuz the competition woo-d him away with offers of more cash and perks -- HE WAS A district rep for an inventory financing company -- took people skills, talking, reading and Math and he was a great guy to boot.

Post your question at www.dyslexiatalk.com. We have a teacher of the deaf on that board who is pretty active -- she's also pretty dyslexic, so she will have lots of techniques for you. And LOTS of her 5th graders are reading at or above Gr. 5 level...
best wishes from an arrogant mom who only listens to advice from people who expect LIMITLESS potential from EVERY child...we can expect miracles even while we deal with reality...

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jan 18, 2002 3:40:23 PM

Elizabeth, if you were referring to my post, I quoted very well known statistics of the AVERAGE reading scores of profoundly deaf high school graduates. Certainly there are children on both ends of the spectrum, highly gifted (and otherwise advantaged) who beat the averages and those who are below average (and other disadvantages) who attain much lower level reading skills. Since when is factual reality "dreadfully demoralizing"?

I have taught hearing impaired children for many years by the way, so I can tell you from personal experience that the published reports are correct...and I have had children who beat the averages and those who did not. Besides the ability level and motivation of the child, parent involvement was another strong factor. I have known parents who actually went and got a degree in ed. of the deaf to better help their own children. But without exception, children who were taught through oral methods including speech, speechreading, auditory training, auditory verbal therapy, etc., attained higher language and reading skills.

Janis

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Posted:Jan 19, 2002 1:49:17 PM

Jan:

I am wondering if someone can help me in teaching my 6 yo profoundly deaf son to read (he doesn't have an implant). We are h.s. and I am just wondering if there is some 'program' for teaching reading out there that I can use for him. Or do I just con't trying to teach him words by sight as I have been doing. How will he decode words when he learns how to read? I have been making a ring with the words that he knows looped on it thru a hole I punched. He has soooo many words that he knows, but how do I put that into 'reading'? Do you have a suggested list of books I could use?

I am certified in Deaf Education and in Special Education. I taught the hearing impaired for 11 years, from 1974-1983. Now I teach mostly LD students in a resource room. I was trained in an aural-oral approach and at that time I used the Northhampton Speech Chart to teach developmental speech to our students. Now, interestingly enough the LiPS program by Lindamood-Bell also uses this same chart to teach dyslexic children phonemic awareness skills. When I took the LiPS training, I was pleasantly surprised to find out similar some of it was to my Deaf-Ed training. The students are taught how sounds are made, where they originate (tongue placement, lip movements, air flow etc.)

Does your son have any residual hearing at all with the use of hearing aids? What communication system does he utilize? Speech-lipreading, total communication? My suggestion to you would be to call the Lindamood-Bell company and ask them if they have had any success working with the hearing impaired. Lindamood does so much work with language processing, that it may be worth a try.

Good luck.

Marilyn

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jan 19, 2002 2:55:07 PM

Hi, Marilyn,

I thought it was interesting that I also started out with the Northampton Charts! I think that "code" is so much easier than the IPA. I have talked to the people at Lindamood-Bell very recently, and they are running a research project with hearing impaired children (don't know levels of loss) right now, but it won't be completed until after the school year is over. Then it make take awhile before the results come out. I am almost certain that it will be good for H.I children (those with residual hearing and cochlear implants particularly). I plan to get Visualizing and Vebalizing in the near future to use for comprehension with some of my students as well. I am also exploring Fast ForWord Language because my child has an auditory processsing disorder, and I think it might be useful with H.I. children as well. However, the cost is prohibitive for use in the public schools, unfortunately. It could be done at home, though, if this child had enough hearing to use it.

It appears that much of the work done to improve instruction for dyslexic children (multi-sensory structured language programs) would be of more benefit to hearing impaired children than some of the things designed for hearing impaired specifically. I think the dylexia research has understood the importance of phonemic awareness as the foundation of good reading skills. So naturally, it is of utmost importance for hearing impaired children to either have amplification that brings them into hearing within the speech range or else have a cochlear implant if the loss is profound with little or no residual hearing. I understand that there is a small percentage of children who may have some reason they can't have an implant. Perhaps that is the case with the original poster's child or perhaps he has too much hearing for an implant.

Janis

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Posted:Jan 19, 2002 3:07:49 PM

What about children who have no residual hearing at all--who are truly totally deaf? I realize their number is small, but they do exist. Would such a method work with them, as well, or would another method be needed?

Yours truly,
Kathy G.


Janis C. wrote:
>
> Hi, Marilyn,
>
> I thought it was interesting that I also started out with the
> Northampton Charts! I think that "code" is so much easier
> than the IPA. I have talked to the people at Lindamood-Bell
> very recently, and they are running a research project with
> hearing impaired children (don't know levels of loss) right
> now, but it won't be completed until after the school year is
> over. Then it make take awhile before the results come out. I
> am almost certain that it will be good for H.I children
> (those with residual hearing and cochlear implants
> particularly). I plan to get Visualizing and Vebalizing in
> the near future to use for comprehension with some of my
> students as well. I am also exploring Fast ForWord Language
> because my child has an auditory processsing disorder, and I
> think it might be useful with H.I. children as well. However,
> the cost is prohibitive for use in the public schools,
> unfortunately. It could be done at home, though, if this
> child had enough hearing to use it.
>
> It appears that much of the work done to improve instruction
> for dyslexic children (multi-sensory structured language
> programs) would be of more benefit to hearing impaired
> children than some of the things designed for hearing
> impaired specifically. I think the dylexia research has
> understood the importance of phonemic awareness as the
> foundation of good reading skills. So naturally, it is of
> utmost importance for hearing impaired children to either
> have amplification that brings them into hearing within the
> speech range or else have a cochlear implant if the loss is
> profound with little or no residual hearing. I understand
> that there is a small percentage of children who may have
> some reason they can't have an implant. Perhaps that is the
> case with the original poster's child or perhaps he has too
> much hearing for an implant.
>
> Janis

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jan 19, 2002 3:21:12 PM

Kathy,

That is a good question. Those are the kids who will have the most difficulty learning to read since they will basically be dependent on sight reading. And I'm sure that anyone here who has read the reading research knows that this will pretty much limit how far a child will be able to go with reading.

The good news for those children is that most of them CAN have a cochlear implant. They are now able to implant children under a year of age and that alows the child to have a good opportunity to develop speech and language at an almost normal level (with auditory-verbal therapy, of course). The implants are improving all the time. I might have had doubts 10 years ago, but the implant technology has really improved since then.

There is a free video called "Dreams Spoken Here" that people can order who are interested in oral deaf education: http://www.oraldeafed.org/

Janis

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Anonymous
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but maybe a public forum is better to solicit more varied responses.

I have been thinking about how to teach a profoundly deaf child to decode. Wouldn't it be possible to teach kinesthetic/symbol relationships as a substitute for sound/symbol relationships? I was thinking that if one had a kinesthetic representation of the 70 or so phonemes taught in Reading Reflex, one could teach decoding of words. I was specifically thinking of using either mouth positions a la Lindamood Bell (so the child could mouth the phonemes being taught, as a substitute for saying them) or hand positions -- something along the lines of the hand positions used for the alphabet, except I think these would have to be extended and modified to be based on phonemes rather than letters of the alphabet. For a mapping exercise, then, the child could mouth the phonemes while writing them, or write with the right hand and kinesthetically "mouth" the phonemes with the non-writing hand.

It just seems to me that the approach used in Reading Reflex could be developed and modified for deaf children, if there were only a system for representing the phonemes clearly in a kinesthetic form.

Once a child could decode, reading could provide additional inputs for language development, which is always a problem for profoundly deaf children.

Or am I bouncing completely off the walls here? I have no experience working with deaf children, so this is pure theorizing on my part.....

Mary

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Anonymous
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Mary,

I understand what you are trying to say, but those phonemes are auditorially received. The written code is based on spoken language. I don't think anything can substitute for the auditory channel.Although, those other senses are definitely used in teaching deaf children language.

However, you are not far off base with your idea to tie in tactile and kinesthetic to increase spoken langauge ability in trying to teach a child to speak and understand spoken language. The Cued Speech method has hand signals that are done close to the face when a person speaks to "cue" a child to which sounds are being produced (helps differentiate between sounds that look the same on the lips like /p/, /b/, etc.). Deaf children CAN be taught to speak. It takes extreme commitment on the part of the family and the child and intensive, long-term therapy.

Those that think profoundly deaf people can get along fine with only lipreading do not realize that only a fourth to a third of English words can be lipread. Most people do to a certain extent lipread naturally. The oral approach would teach lipreading (speechreading), auditory training, and the visual/kinesthetic side of speech production. The auditory-verbal approach concentrates more on the auditory because the feeling is that the auditory sense will develop more strongly if the child is not dividing his attention between so many senses. Obviously, once a child has gained the understanding of the auditory signal, so to speak, he can then use all senses. It is all very interesting.

But basically, those that are taught to speak and understand auditory information are the strongest readers. And really, the cochlear implant technology is changing the prospects of most profpundly deaf kids. It really is a miracle I never dreamed I'd see in my lifetime! A little 4 year old boy I teach will be evaluated soon for a cochlear implant. His hearing has worsened to a level that they are considering the implant. In the past, when the children got them at an older age, the progress was slower and the potential less. But now, the younger children have made amazing progress in gaining auditory and verbal skills! My real dream would be that one day, there would be no need for teachers of the deaf! And that IS a possible dream!

Janis

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Janis:

<<I have talked to the people at Lindamood-Bell very recently, and they are running a research project with hearing impaired children (don't know levels of loss) right now, but it won't be completed until after the school year is over. Then it make take awhile before the results come out. I am almost certain that it will be good for H.I children (those with residual hearing and cochlear implants particularly).>>

This is very exciting news! I can't wait to read the results! I wonder what it would be like to teach a combination class of both dyslexic and hearing impaired children??? Since both have deficits in language processing, the instruction could be very similar for both. And while I love teaching LD children, I truly miss teaching the hearing impaired.

I plan to get Visualizing and Vebalizing in
> the near future to use for comprehension with some of my
> students as well. I am also exploring Fast ForWord Language
> because my child has an auditory processsing disorder, and I
> think it might be useful with H.I. children as well.

V/V would be great for hearing impaired children, I would think. I'm sure if the amplification was adequate enough Fast ForWord Language would be good for our hearing impaired population, We have been using FF in our school since last spring. I happen to be one of the coaches. On Tuesday, maybe I will go through some of the demos again to see if it could possibly work. We do have a hearing impaired student in our school, who has been using Earobics quite successfully. However, I think that she only has a moderate loss.

Marilyn

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Marilyn,

I don't think I mentioned this to you before, but I have also taught LD over the years, so we have a lot in common. Where did you get your deaf ed. training? I went to Converse College in SC in the mid-70's.

"Since both have deficits in language processing, the instruction could be very similar for both."

I agree with this very much. And as you said, the mild to moderate H.I kids especially need about the same instruction as the dyslexic children. I am more or less itinerant, although all my students are located at two schools. They range from high frquency loss (normal in speech range) to moderate to severe to profound. They are all in other classes and I pull them to work individually. Because of my recent exploration back into dyslexia (it has been several years since I officially taught LD) since my own child has been diagnosed with APD, I discovered that the latest research shows that most dyslexic children have a phonological processing problem. I had always suspected that, so it is wonderful they are finally unlocking doors for dyslexic children. But that immediately made me think of the parallel with H.I. children. So everything I am considering for my own child, I am weighing the benefits for use with my students. I have just received Phono-Graphix materials to try with my child, and I do plan on using it with my kids with less severe losses.

"We have been using FF in our school since last spring."

Awesome! What an opportunity for those children to have access to it at school! I hesitate to pay the $850 not knowing whether it will really benefit my child, but I'd sure let her try it if the school was offering it! Do the children spend 90-100 minutes per day on FF? How do thay divide the time? Do you have an opinion about whether it has been beneficial for your students? I just received the training kit a couple of days ago and haven't started looking at it yet. I did order Earobics at school to use with my mild to moderate loss second graders who are reading below grade level. (I already have it at home and it has been good for my daughter, too).

Janis

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Posted:Jan 20, 2002 2:20:23 PM

Do you know if Helen Keller ever learned to read Braille? I know she was able to acquire language kinesthetically, and I guess I always assumed that she learned to "read" Braille -- which would mean she had acquired decoding skills, wouldn't it? Based on what you posted, I'm figuring she must have had books read to her kinesthetically then.

How does that hand signal system work? Is it "whole word" or something else?

Mary

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Posted:Jan 20, 2002 2:49:08 PM

Honestly it has been so long since I have read books on Helen Keller that I don't recall if she learned to read Braille. She was totally dependent on Anne Sullivan, which might make me tend to think that she did not read Braille, but I'd have to check. That's an interesting question. My understanding is that Anne used the manual alphabet and spelled words into Helen's hand. Helen had to be very brilliant to achieve to the level she attained. Of course, she did have that first year and half or so with normal hearing and sight before she lost them, which helps.

Now, as for Braille...and I am now stepping into territory that is strictly guessing...I think that kinesthetic "reading" (Braille) would be more like visual sight reading, not like decoding.

Janis

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Posted:Jan 20, 2002 3:17:58 PM

I can answer that question. Yes, she did. First, Anne Sullivan taught Helen to read raised print (and to write using the square-hand alphabet), then she taught Helen to read and write in Braille. All this when Helen was 7 years old.

Yours truly,
Kathy


Janis C. wrote:
>
> Honestly it has been so long since I have read books on Helen
> Keller that I don't recall if she learned to read Braille.
> She was totally dependent on Anne Sullivan, which might make
> me tend to think that she did not read Braille, but I'd have
> to check. That's an interesting question. My understanding is
> that Anne used the manual alphabet and spelled words into
> Helen's hand. Helen had to be very brilliant to achieve to
> the level she attained. Of course, she did have that first
> year and half or so with normal hearing and sight before she
> lost them, which helps.
>
> Now, as for Braille...and I am now stepping into territory
> that is strictly guessing...I think that kinesthetic
> "reading" (Braille) would be more like visual sight reading,
> not like decoding.
>
> Janis

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Posted:Jan 20, 2002 3:18:50 PM

I forgot to add that, later, Helen learned to touch-type!

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Posted:Jan 20, 2002 4:17:22 PM

Great! Thanks for the information, Kathy!

Janis

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Anonymous
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that Helen Keller was able to acquire decoding skills -- not just sight reading skills? Would her level of reading and writing be possible without decoding skills?

Mary

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Mary,

Assuming we are talking about decoding in the same way (as in phonics, Phono-Graphix,etc.) we are talking about a sound-symbol relationship. Without the sound part, it is not "decoding" in the sense that we refer to decoding. I suppose it would be tactile decoding. When you type, for example, or when someone fingerspells, they MAY be sounding out those words in their minds. But a person who has never heard the sounds cannot decode in an auditory manner. So I still think that any other method of reading (Braille, fingerspelling) would correlate more to sight reading (memorization of the words) as opposed to decoding in the auditory sense. Do you see what I am saying?

Janis

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Posted:Jan 20, 2002 9:23:22 PM

For a blind person with normal hearing, Braille decoding is just like visual decoding for the sighted. I worked for a while as an assistant to a blind person who was definitely high-achieving -- computer engineer at NASA, who decided he hadn't achieved enough, so he went to law school.

He was rather frustrated that with modern technology, fewer Braille books are being produced; people assume that everyone can depend on scanners and computer text readers. Well, he can use that stuff, but he prefers Braille books for exactly the same reason that most of us prefer print books -- he can read faster, can skim, and can flip back and forth to other sections, all of which are very difficult with the computerized readers. He would also be very nmuch happier if he could get his exams in Braille; readers provided by the testing center are not always knowledgeable.

Anyway, he has reached advanced university level reading and reads far more vocabulary that could possibly be memorized; he also makes notes in class using a Braille stylus and reads them later; he definitely decodes.


On a related topic, another issue that should be noted: for years the anti-phonics advocates claimed (falsely) that English is too irregular to be decodable and that the only way to read was to use "sight" words. Then people invented these computerized speech generators. Guess what? They decode phonetically. They are good enough now to take a very good guess at pronouncing unusual names, which of course could not have been programmed into memory. This is an absolute proof that phonics works and is in fact more efficient (computer programmers would not use decoding if memorization used less work).

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