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Beaniemom

Teaching reading to hard of hearing child

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My son is 6 and currently in ps 1st grade. Next year we are homeschooling. He is deaf but with his cochlear implant and hearing aid functions like a child with mild/moderate hearing loss. He is a struggling reader but doesn't seem to realize it. He will guess at words and continue on without noticing the sentence is nonsense.

He reads words in isolation fairly well but struggles with phonics and sounding out words as well as reading words in context. Any suggestions for what I might be able to do to help him would be lovely.

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Hmm, I don't have specific ideas for the hard of hearing situation, but do want to encourage you that guessing at words is quite common among six year old readers and most often resolves with further experience. It is hard for the brain to focus on figuring out words and comprehension at the same time when everything is new.

 

Is he able to follow along if you read to him or play audiobooks for him? This is usually the best way to build reading comprehension skills, which should eventually transfer over to his independent reading.

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If he can sound out nonsense words in isolation "kav", "paf", "lan", etc., and he knows his phenomes, then I would just work with him by reading together and stopping and redirecting him when he makes a mistake.

 

I would get some letter tiles like those used in AAR/AAS and keep working on nonsense words as part of the phonics instruction. My kid with hearing issues needed to go rule-based. 

 

If your child is also receiving speech, I'd work on pairing things together....sometimes the hearing/speech issues carry over into reading. As an example, my child couldn't hear the different between /f/ and /th/----couldn't say the difference between the sounds---and had a number of issues until he learned to spell well. Once he realized that there truly was a difference, about half of the issue went away. I still have to have him hold my hand in front of my mouth from time to time to feel how the air moves differently through my mouth with /f/ and /th/.

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He does work with an SLP and is currently working on /s/ and /sh/ so that he can feel the difference. He lacks confidence and will not even try to sound out words. When we read together I will sound out words so that he hears and has an example but at his turn he just barrels though making random guesses.

His class is doing blends and I really don't think he can distinguish thise at this point. He did just upgrade his technogy so I am hopeful for the future.

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My DD12 is partially deaf as well. Without aids it's moderate sloping to profound and with aids and lipreading she does pretty well, I'd say with aids she hears 80%. She was diagnosed at age 7 but the doctors think she became deaf sometime between birth and 5 years of age, possibly gradually because she did pick up a decent bit of speech. 

 

We've had her since age 11 and she was a non-reader when she moved in as a foster child. The schools had put her through 4 years of intensive phonics on computers with no gain in reading. It was so frustrating! She was at that point very teacher-dependent, just looked for the teacher to give her answers and had zero confidence in any subject. She was also diagnosed with a "Specific Learning Disability in Reading" which is code for "Dyslexia" per the new DSM descriptions and especially in our state, which doesn't like to acknowledge dyslexia. I still don't know if she's dyslexic truly or if she is that way because of the hearing loss. No idea! 

 

Since my DD is so old and had the dyslexia diagnosis I started her in Barton and it has been a miracle. It clicks so well with her! We've done it 3x a week for the past 9 months and she's now a up to a 2.5-ish grade level in reading and picked up a basic picture book and read it aloud a couple weeks ago. We expect to finish Level 4 in June and then she'll be able to read some basic books independently if she chooses. In another year or so she'll be on grade level. Barton has also enabled her to spell for the first time in her life. Before she just guessed randomly in reading and spelling and like your son didn't even pause to realize that her guesses made no sense at all in context.

 

Anyway, there is a Facebook group for parents of HOH and Deaf children and for those educating HOH and Deaf children, I highly recommend getting on those for moral support though many parents there are just groping around for answers like us.

 

For teaching your son reading, I'd look into Visual Phonics. It uses visual hand cues along with the words to show the individual phonetic sounds. If DD was younger I might have tried that first. Anyway, I'd try Visual Phonics for at least a year and see if it helps your son understand the phonics. If that doesn't work I'd give him the Barton Reading and Spelling screening and maybe try that program instead. A lot of parents of deaf and HOH kids focus on sight words for reading but I just don't think that's the best or only way to teach reading, especially for kids like ours who do have some hearing ability and with things like Visual Phonics  and Cued Speech which can supplement lipread and partial hearing to give kids complete understanding of the language. 

 

For the S vs SH thing yes that will always be difficult, as will blends (especially ST blends, ugh, the bane of my existence, lol!). His speech therapist can really help him with that and you can help him by showing him what the /s/ sound and the /sh/ sound looks like on your lips when you say it. You will need to really help him practice looking at peoples' faces when they speak and teach him to advocate for himself by saying politely "I'm sorry, can you repeat that" or "I'm not sure I heard you, did you say _______?" 

 

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