Whether you are using visual language (such as American Sign Language, or ASL), spoken language (often called Listening and Spoken Language, or LSL), or a bilingual (ASL and spoken language) approach with your DHH child, the timing of your communication matters. Even small adjustments can have a HUGE impact on language acquisition.
Attuning to your little one’s body cues can tell you a lot. Watch for clues about your DHH child’s ability to receive new language, as well as to use the language he already has. Calm, focused brains learn best, whether we are young or old!
- If I am tired, distracted, or feeling intense emotions, I am not in the best “brain space” to learn language. Prioritize calming comfort instead!
- Simple, repeated daily “practice” in real time is what I need most. The Language of Feelings is built one word and/or sign at a time!
- Lots of “wait time” = my opportunity to put little puzzle pieces together to make complete pictures of emotions and relationships.
- Honor my natural rhythms of looking and listening.
- I need time to combine all I am seeing, hearing, and feeling then make meaning of it.
- Extra “wait time” also allows me to start conversations with you, respond to what you are telling me, and share my inner world. I will feel capable!
- Turn-taking in our play and conversation makes me feel like an important, active participant in our relationship.
- Give me supported time as I play with other children. It is through your guidance in my earliest social experiences that I learn to have healthy relationships with others. Explaining to me what is happening around me–particularly as it happens in real time–helps with my understanding of myself and others.