To help a hearing-impaired youngster develop effective communication skills, sign language and augmentative communication strategies, which may include electronic devices, can be implemented as part of a “whole-language” therapy program.
“We always work toward spoken language as the ultimate goal, especially in young children,” Mezzatesta says. “Most importantly for any child with a communication deficit is to develop a functional understanding and use of language.
“How that happens is usually a blend of approaches,” she says. “The most important thing from a parent’s perspective is to pay attention to your child’s behavior from an early age to identify any hearing concern that may exist and, if necessary, pursue treatment as soon as possible.”