Children’s Materials for Deaf Kids: Some Helpful Resources

As a children’s author and mother of three, I’ve been passionate about children’s literacy and education for many years. It wasn’t until my East Coast book tour that I became interested in education for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, after I had the wonderful experience of reading my title Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy at a school for the hearing impaired. I was so inspired that I released a Danny the Dragon DVD and iPad app with a signed reading of my book. I’m proud to have contributed children’s materials to deaf children. Although I created the very first children’s book app with sign language interpretation, it is just one of many materials out there for deaf children.

Before we touch upon the subject of children’s materials, the issue of language must be considered. One of the most important decisions parents of a deaf child make is which language or languages to teach their child, as communication is one of the most important skills people—deaf and hearing—need. Language instruction has been the subject of much controversy in the deaf community. Children who are born deaf or become deaf early in life can end up having difficulties understanding written English, which is a phonetic language, based on sounds.

For the many deaf children who retain some residual hearing, parents are increasingly opting for oral deaf education, which teaches children to learn and speak using advanced technology, allowing them to learn English more easily. The question arises of whether your child should learn sign language first. Parents should consult with specialists and qualified professionals to help them make the best decision for their child.

Whatever method of language instruction you choose for your child, there are many materials at your disposal. If you’ve opted to teach your child sign language first and then English, you’ll have many books at your disposal for teaching ASL and English. The Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have posted on their website an extraordinary list of deaf children’s materials, including well-illustrated primers for either or both languages such as Sesame Street’s Sign Language Fun with Linda Bove, storybooks dealing with deaf characters and issues such as I Have a Sister, My Sister is Deaf, and books on important deaf topics such as Hearing Aids for You and the Zoo, which instructs deaf kids on how to take care of their hearing aids.

There are many other deaf children’s materials available in other media such as computer games and programs as well as DVDs. About.com’s deaf  writer Jamie Berke recommends the following sources for deaf children’s materials: the Clerk Center product catalog, the Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, which has computer software for deaf kids, BoysTownPress.org for a video series of sign language interpretations of famous children’s books, and PBS’s Cornerstones program, which teaches language skills to deaf children.

If you’ve decided to get a hearing aid for your deaf child, hearing aid materials will also be important to acquire. Some examples of such materials include a battery tester, air blower to blow out moisture from hearing aids, hearing aid retainers, and an earmold lubricant. You can learn more about hearing aid supplies through a specialist.

In the end, there are so many materials and resources for deaf children that to list them here is not possible. The best solution is to stay well-connected with professionals, deaf organizations, and others in the deaf community for information about helpful materials for deaf kids. As time goes on, deaf children will be able to enjoy more and more materials to help them learn necessary information and language skills—and of course for their fun and enjoyment.

Tina Turbin

www.Dannythedragon.com

Resources

About.com: Literacy Resources for Teaching Deaf Children http://deafness.about.com/od/literacy/a/deafliteracy.htm

Bella Online: What language should my deaf child learn? http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art67247.asp

The Listen-Up Web! Helpful Products to Know About http://www.listen-up.org/htm/products.htm

Posted in Apps, Books, Children's Author, Children's Book, Children's Health, Deaf children, Helpful Tips, iPad, moms, Research
Tagged , , , , , ,

8 Responses to Children’s Materials for Deaf Kids: Some Helpful Resources

  1. Nathalie says:

    It’s so cool that you know this stuff! At first I was wondering why you wrote this article but then I remembered that your app has sign language interpretation so you must have a lot of deaf readers!

  2. Desiree says:

    Very insteresting. I didn’t realize there was an alternative to ASL. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Debbie says:

    Wow you really are an advocate for so many issues this is TOO COOL! I have always wanted to learn sign language myself but never had the chance to because in college these classes were the most popular language class.

  4. Chloe says:

    Isn’t it interesting how many kids are really into this sign language even when they’re not hearing impaired? I remember after I read the autobiography of Helen Keller I learned the sign alphabet and my schoolmates and I would sign each other secret messages during class and we thought we were the coolest people in the world!

  5. Deanna Miller says:

    Interesting article you have here, TIna. I didn’t realize you were so knowledgeable on this subject. That’s super cool. I remember reading an article a while ago, or maybe it was your blog, about how you were interested in deaf literacy. Clearly this is true.

  6. Denise Chappell says:

    Wonderful information! I heard you’re being featured on a major blog for deaf children in the UK, if I’m correct. Pretty cool!

  7. Norma Barry says:

    Nice article. I didn’t realize you wrote on this subject. It is very interesting to read about!

  8. Shelly Barnes says:

    After reading this I became very interested as well in the subject of deaf education. I had no idea that there’s oral deaf education. The kids who are brought up this way with cochlear implants and special training look and sound just like hearing kids! It really blew my mind. Here’s an interesting website that explained it all and it has videos to, just for you that are interested it’s good to know!
    http://www.oraldeafed.org/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>