Young children with hearing loss learn language best through meaningful interactions with others. When they are involved and interested, their language can be strengthened. Young children are intrigued by cell phones, computers, remotes, tablets, GPS, calculators and other mobile technology. Parents can use their personal devices to encourage their child’s language learning. The key is to add personal interaction and enjoy using a device together. A child might hold a mobile device to assist with completing a shopping list, use invented spelling to add to a typed message or enjoy an animated storybook. Technology can be another tool for building a young child’s language experiences.
What are some e-activities a child and parent can do together?
- Calling/recording—exchange short personal messages with people the child knows
- Music – play the child’s favorites for singing and dancing at varied volumes
- Children’s Books – read interactive stories or ones that allow pauses in narration
- Photographs/Videos– document a child’s experiences and review together often
- Lists – download pictures with words to create shopping or to-do lists
- Movies – pick videos that tell stories and cuddle up to watch the action together
- Preschool Games – choose activities that encourage imagination and creativity
- Educational Materials – explore websites that match a child’s age and are fun
What are some strategies to add language to technology use?
- Talk throughout electronic tasks and describe the child’s actions and results.
- Encourage the child to describe onscreen views to think about what he sees.
- Take turns reading, turning e-pages, predicting, reacting and summarizing.
- Discuss onscreen concepts and relate them to everyday events in the child’s life.
- Emphasize the sequence of ideas onscreen to build a sense of first this/then that.
- Practice pre-literacy by labeling pictures, inventing spelling, recognizing names, etc.
- Guide the child in attending to what others are communicating and then responding.
- Avoid drills, solitary tasks, right/wrong choices and activities that calculate scores.
Language is learned with others! There are many opportunities each day to involve children with technology and conversation. Use technology with tots to encourage active learning, purposeful interactions and expanded communication.