Activities and Games for Working with Deaf Children

Being an educator is a profession with a lot of vocation and dedication, and it requires a lot of knowledge, especially when working with deaf children. With that in mind, this article shares some activities and games to aid you in this task.
Activities and Games for Working with Deaf Children

Last update: 26 March, 2021

There are some activities and games for working with deaf children that can be useful for both parents and educators in the complex task of their education. And they can help these adults to plan and adapt teaching and learning situations to the needs and circumstances of children who have some degree of hearing loss.

Hearing impairment, disability or handicap

First, we must differentiate between the terms impairment, disability and handicap. Some use them interchangeably, but they’re not synonymous.

Hearing impairment refers to changes or deviations from normality; and disability refers to the restrictions that the impairment imposes. Handicap, on the other hand, indicates a disadvantage imposed by a hearing change that affects communication skills.

Therefore, we’ll speak of hearing loss to refer to a need having to do with a total or partial deficit in perception. This is assessed by the degree of hearing loss in each ear. Therefore, we can distinguish between people who are deaf and people who are hard of hearing, according to the degree of intensity of the hearing loss.

Deaf people are those who have a total or profound impairment. In other words, they have a loss of the anatomical or physiological function of the auditory system.

Depending on the time of onset, hearing loss may be prelocution or postlocution. Prelocution refers to deafness that’s present before language development. While postlocution refers to deafness that occurs when language is already present.

Activities and Games for Working with Deaf Children

On the other hand, people with hearing impairments have a partial deficiency of the auditory system. Therefore, they have a more or less greater hearing loss, which can improve with the use of electronic devices to amplify sounds, such as hearing aids.

Activities and games to work with deaf children

The possibilities for educators to intervene in working with deaf children and those that are hard of hearing are complex. What’s more, it’ll depend both on the time of onset and degree of hearing loss. And, in the same way, it depends on the consequences in communicative, linguistic and cognitive development.

However, it’s possible to plan activities and games for working with children with mild to moderate hearing loss. In addition, it’s possible to establish some guidelines and recommendations that can help both parents and educators.

Getting familiar with the hearing aid

When children have a mild or moderate degree of hearing loss, they’re likely to use a hearing aid. Therefore, an interesting activity to do in class with all classmates is to get to know this device better.

Ideally, the teacher should get a hearing aid and bring it into the classroom. In this way, all the children can observe it and touch it. And, thanks to the explanation of the educator or a specialist, they can understand how it works.

Learning ASL together (American Sign Language)

For the proper integration of children with hearing loss, we should all learn sign language. So, specifically in the classroom, an activity to do all together is to start by knowing and practicing the alphabet of sign language in order to get started.

In addition, it’s very useful and fun for children to learn sign language through songs. In that regard, there are many videos on platforms like YouTube where you can find songs in sign language.

Jigsaw puzzles, an ideal activity and game for working with deaf children

Doing puzzles and jigsaw puzzles is an excellent activity for children, both at home and at school, which includes classmates with hearing loss. In the classroom, you can work in small groups in which the children do different puzzles and, once completed, rotate them.

This activity can help children with hearing loss learn sign language communication faster. This is because doing puzzles helps children develop fine motor skills. In the same way, it develops their observation skills, visual acuity and agility, and spatial vision.

Activities and Games for Working with Deaf Children

Everybody outside to play!

Another activity to do with children with hearing loss can be outdoor outings, excursions, explorations and tours in the countryside. Contact with nature is always a fun and educational strategy that helps in the proper development and learning of all children.

So, this activity involves going out to learn about the colors of flowers and vegetation, collecting all kinds of stones, different in size and texture, and paying attention to the smells and colors of nature.

The objective of the activity is to work on children’s multisensory stimulation. In general, it will help them become fully aware of the capacity of their senses. Specifically, the activity will help children with hearing loss to more acutely develop their other four remaining senses.

Activities and games for working with deaf children: Some final recommendations

It should be noted that the basic form of communication with people with hearing loss is through lip-reading and facial expressions. Therefore, it’s important that both educators and schoolmates try to face the child with hearing needs when addressing and talking to them.

Likewise, within the classroom, it’s necessary for a child with specific hearing-related needs to be strategically positioned in a comfortable place and at a good distance from their teacher, so that they can easily see and visualize all of the teacher’s lip movements and body and facial expressions.

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