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My child is deaf; is it still important to talk to him?
Q: I read your article on wiring the brain, but have an 18-month-old who is deaf. Is talking to him still important? We do sign and speak while his hearing aids are in, but sometimes we wonder if all of this doing any good?
A: Just to make certain that what I recommend is consistent with current thinking on this subject, I contacted a prominent Little Rock Audiologist, Dr. Joseph Turbeville, and discussed your question with him. His advice is that you have your son wear his hearing aids whenever he is awake and that you do all you can to “wire his brain” with the same type of verbal stimulation one would use with a hearing child. That is, you need to talk to him (face to face if possible), read to him, sing and dance with him, play games with him. I would add that he needs all the emotional support (sensitive care, prompt comforting, anticipation of physical needs) you can give him. I hope you can get yourself in a parent support group, as other parents who have faced similar challenges are usually happy to share techniques that have worked for them. And enroll him at least part-time in a high-quality early intervention program that includes speech and hearing specialists on the staff. As a rule, Texas has excellent services for young children with disabilities, and these services will be a great help to you as your son grows and develops.