Question #6
What are some methods for communicating with infants and toddlers who have both visual and hearing impairments?








 
 

Resources

        California Deaf-Blind Services, (1999). Creating a need to communicate. Fact Sheet. [Online]. Available. http://www.sfsu.edu/~cadbs/Eng019t.html

        DB-LINK (1999, July). The National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who are Deaf-Blind. [Online]. Available http://www.tr.wosc.osshe.edu/dblink/comm-bib.htm

        Mcinnes, J. M., Treffry, J. A. (1982). Deaf-blind Infants and Children: A Developmental Guide. Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press

        SKI*HI Institute. (1993). A resource manual for understanding and interacting with infants, toddlers, and preschool age children with deaf-blindness. Logan, U.T.: H.O.P.E., Inc.

        Stremel, K. Schutz, R. (1995). Functional communication in integrated settings for students who are deaf-blind. In N. G. Haring & L. T. Romer (Eds.), Including students with deaf-blindness in typical educational settings. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Pub. Co.
 
 

Synthesis of Information

Communication is the exchange of a message between two or more people. Everyone communicates in many different ways and for many different reasons. Communication can be expressive or receptive. Children who are deaf-blind may never learn to talk. However, they can express themselves to you. They can receive the messages you send, (Stremel, 1995).

A child with deaf-blindness is a unique individual with specific skills and needs. The combination of the vision loss with the hearing loss will affect the way he or she learns to communicate. For example, if a child’s vision is better than his or her hearing, a communication method should be used that depends on vision, such as gestures, signing, or possibly pictures. It is also important to use touch, smell, and taste to teach the child with deaf-blindness more about people, objects, places, actions, and relationships to people and things, (SKI*HI).

Communication with a child with deaf-blindness will mean:

Caregivers can avoid inappropriate and self stimulating behaviors by interacting and communicating more frequently with the child, by being more responsive, looking at all behaviors as attempts to communicate, and by getting the child to participate in all activities.

Depending on the individual child, he or she may need some adaptations to communicate, such as:


Receptive Communication


Receptive communication is the process of receiving and understanding a message. It is difficult to determine how a child who is deaf-blind receives a message. Here are some ways to help a child understand messages. Always keep in mind, it is important that everyone uses the same cues with the child, and always use speech along with cues to describe what is happening.
 

Object Cue                                   Meaning
Some Possible Touch Cues                                       Meaning
Lightly stroke the child’s outer arm in an                        up
upward motion

Lightly tap the child’s bottom                                         down

Stroke the child’s hand from knuckles                             want more
to finger tips

Gently guide the child’s hand to push                                 finished
away the object/food, etc.

Gently rub between the child’s breastbone                             bath

Gently tap the child’s elbow forward                                     go

Tap both of the child’s lips twice with                                     eat
your fingers

Touch the child’s bottom lip and                                             drink
gently push up

Gently tap at the child’s waistband                                 change diaper

Gently stroke the child’s eyelids                                            bed/sleep
(this may be too intrusive for some children)

Lightly rub or tap the child’s lower shoulder                     bye/termination

Tap firmly twice on the child’s outer wrist                                 no
 
 
 

Expressive Communication
Expressive communication involves sending a message to another person to make something happen or stop something that is already happening. Children who are deaf-blind are able to express themselves in many different ways. Parents, teachers and caregivers must be responsive to their varied forms of communication, notice and encourage opportunities for expressive communication,(Stremel). Listed below are various ways a child with deaf-blindness can communicate presently, and also in the future.
There are a multitude of opportunities for communication within all activities throughout the day. A child with dual sensory impairment should be allowed to experience many different activities and daily routines just as other children experience. Allow the child opportunities to interact with family, friends, and others. If the child is not exposed to different toys, people, and activities, there is little chance for interaction or communication, (SKI*HI).
 

Insights

Through everything I have read regarding communication, the reoccurring philosophy was that everyone communicates in many different ways and for many different reasons. Even though these children with this dual sensory impairment have been saddled with an insurmountable challenge, they can still learn to express themselves and receive messages.

Through communication, these children can make changes in their world, express their wants and needs, and make choices. And, through communication, we as teachers, parents or caregivers can teach a child to play, participate in daily activities, work, interact with others, and learn about their world.

Bibliography

        Huebner, K. M., Prickett, J. G., Welch, T. R., & Joffee, E. (1995). Hand In Hand: Essentials of Communication and Orientation and Mobility for Your Students Who Are Deaf-Blind. N.Y., N.Y.: AFB Press

        Mcinnes, J. M., Treffry, J. A. (1982). Deaf-blind Infants and Children: A Developmental Guide. Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press

        SKI*HI Institute. (1993). A resource manual for understanding and interacting with infants, toddlers, and preschool age children with deaf-blindness. Logan, U.T.: H.O.P.E., Inc.
 



 
 

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