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Interacting with Deaf Children

girls on jungle gym

As a daycare provider you may not be sure how to interact with a hard-of-hearing child. The following questions can help you understand how to do this.



We have a hard time getting a deaf child's attention. What can we do to get a deaf child's attention without embarrassing him or making him feel singled out?

  • Try not to forget that she cannot hear. Don't yell at her.
  • Communicate directly. Try not to ask another child to communicate for you. The deaf child may feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.
  • Write instructions and announcements on the board.
  • Flash the lights on and off and wave your hands to get everyone's attention.
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How can we best take care of deaf babies or toddlers? baby with toy

  • Watch while the baby plays and wait for her to look up.
  • To get her attention, move your hands and sign near the object that she is looking at. Then bring your hands to your face.
  • Move your hands slowly and with as much rhythm as possible as you change her attention from a toy to a milk bottle.
  • Use bright facial expressions.
  • Move objects in front of the deaf baby's face to get her attention. Then bring objects near your face to bring her attention to your face.
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How can we play with deaf children? What kind of games do deaf children like?

  • Play games and activities that do not need the use of hearing.
  • Games like Simon Says or Marco Polo would be very hard for deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
  • Twister and tag would be better. Twister is easy to see and understand.
  • For the game tag, you can add a bright hat to the game. Say that whoever is It has to wear the bright hat. This helps deaf and hard-of-hearing children to see who's It and who's not.
  • You must explain the rules for all activities or games. Every time you teach a game or activity, explain things step by step to the child.
  • Musical chairs can also be played by turning the lights on and off instead of turning the music on and off.
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Next: Taking Care of Hearing Devices

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NIDCD

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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