Educational Approaches


            Before we put into action any kind of educational approach we first must assess the severity of the hearing loss. After, we can pick a method for each individual child.   There are three primary communication methods used in education of deaf children. These are:

                            a) Oral/aural - an approach to deaf education that emphasizes auditory training, articulation ability and lip-reading. 

                            b) Total communication -  a method of interacting with individuals with language impairments using a combination of spoken language and signs, which includes sign language, voice, finger-spelling, lip-reading, amplification, writing, gesture and visual imagery (pictures).

                            c) Bilingual/bicultural (bi-bi) - This is a philosophy of teaching that recognizes the authenticity and importance of both hearing and Deaf cultures, and that incorporates elements of both in the classroom.  Programs are modeled on English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. 

                       These methods have undergone waves of popularity and some are much older than others.  This doesn't mean, though, that one is better than the other.  Each individual is different, therefore each individual needs a different type of method to help them with their development of language, communication and to aid them in their learning.   In these methods there may be techniques that are used to aid the child with a particular method, such as:

                            a) American Sign Language - a complete language, related historically to the French.  This is the manual language used by the Deaf community in the United States.  

                            b) Cued Speech - a manual used by some deaf children and their teachers/parents, that uses hand shapes near the mouth to help make lip-reading easier.  

                            c) Lip-reading (Speech-reading) - Decoding the language of a speaker by paying close attention to the face and mouth, without being able to hear the speaker's voice. 

                           As well as these different methods and different techniques, there are different places and settings that the Deaf, or a child with a hearing impairment can learn, such as:

                             a) Mainstreaming - the practice of incorporating children with disabilities into the regular classroom instead of keeping them apart in special classes. 

                            b) Residential schools - these are schools designed for Deaf individuals, particular, to live and learn in a school where Deaf people and the Deaf culture surrounds them everyday.


Auditory-Oral Approach

                               1) Parent involvement 

                               2) Appropriate amplification

                               3) Consistent quality speech training

                               4) Developing appropriate language instruction

                               5) Range of placement option 

Auditory-Verbal Approach

Auditory training

Lip reading (Speech-reading) - Cued Speech



                    The key to an aural/oral approach is practice.  The child must be immersed in a speech-intensive environment at home and school. 

                                                                  Total Communication

                        1) they generally familiarize themselves with some American Sign Language signs for vocabulary,

                        2) to convey grammatical concepts, that are not expressed by separate signs in American Sign Language they invent new signs, such as an article,

                        3) they also produce sentences that copy the syntactic structure of English. 


                                                             Bilingual/bicultural (bi-bi)

"A person who is bicultural can move freely within and between two different cultures. Biculturalism implies an understanding of the mores, customs, practices, and expectations of members of a cultural group and the ability to adapt to their expectations" (Finnegan)

"Research has shown that effective language has to be fast and clear. ASL is an efficient language for visual learning and is easier for Deaf children to acquire as a first language than any form of English" (Finnegan)


A statistic

            A little over 40% of students in American residential and day-schools, which are designed for deaf and hearing-impaired children were using a form of a bi-bi programming, while a larger portion of the remainder were using manually coded English/total-communication. 

                                                               American Sign Language 




                                                                        Residential Schools 


                                                                  Quotes sited from