Deaf Education Through Listening and Talking (DELTA) was initially formed by a group of Professionals (Teachers of the Deaf and Audiologists) who, when working together with families and educational settings, had evidenced the potential of severely and profoundly deaf babies and children. Sharing the collated evidence of these listening and talking children and young adults, highlighted fundamental attributes that contributed to the children’s success both in their educational attainments and in their future careers. These key factors formed the Philosophy and approach that they called ‘Natural Auralism’
The Natural Aural Approach recognises :-
- that families are at the centre of the approach and are helped to understand the crucial part they play and that they ‘can do it’ within the natural circumstances of their home and community. That the day to day routines, interactions and enjoyment of hearing children that come easily and spontaneously is what their deaf child needs.
- when hearing loss is identified that the most appropriate audiological equipment is fitted. That this is managed and maintained and reviewed so that it is consistently worn throughout the baby/child’s waking hours.
- that the Teacher of the deaf joins up the professional support with the family and encourages positive management and review of the equipment and ensures that the family recognises its natural skills, in monitoring and supporting the next steps. The family focused approach ensures that adjustments are made in a timely way, the support is individualised and that the family is always forward looking.
- that there is an understanding of language development and that it starts with listening , hence the need for optimum working and worn ‘hearing aids’. (‘Hearing aids’ stand for any audiological device including hearing aids, BAHA, Cochlear implants)
- in the early stages it is all about listening and that to listen to what is said it has to be meaningful and have purpose, even if that purpose is just ‘fun’.
- that children aren’t taught to talk in a structured way and nor is it reduced or over pronounced. The language is age and stage appropriate and it will often start in a contingent situation which provides the clarity to tune in and actively take part. As the listener becomes more experienced, language will become more sophisticated as information and ideas become more reflective and the child becomes more creative and can infer, predict and imagine.
- That the Teacher of the deaf along with the family has expectation as they monitor, advise and support access in the educational setting.
Professionals involved in DELTA find support in the strengths, knowledge and experience of colleagues working in the field. The strong research base and outcomes of the Natural Aural approach as evidenced by children and young people, highly functioning alongside their hearing peers in school and the workplace has improved practice across the country.
Professionals working with hearing impaired babies and children are encouraged to get in touch with DELTA and find out more about improving their own practice.
Several Articles published by BATOD can be read in our Research section.
Supporting and Monitoring in the early years post identification of hearing loss:
After the identification of hearing loss it is vital that the baby and child’s developmental progress is tracked and supported. The professional can offer support to the family when they have a full understanding of the sequential nature of language and listening development. The strategies of support that enable hearing children to develop a rich foundation of language and understanding are just what the hearing impaired child needs at the same stage of development.
For a later identified hearing impaired child the stages are still sequential, the strategies are similar, however the interactions must relate to the age, interest and experiences of the child.
For the hearing impaired child their listening will rely on the continuity of well set up and managed ‘hearing aids’( including all audiological support devices) that are used within their waking hours.
Families and Teachers of the deaf often refer to the language and listening development of the child as old as consistent and appropriate ‘hearing aid’ wearing’. Given that also the child is engaged in interactions that are meaningful and appropriate to their needs in the home and educational setting.
The Monitoring Protocol documents help support the tracking of the baby/child’s all round development and offer support to develop the next steps. These guidance documents will help develop an understanding of the needs of the individual hearing impaired child and used together with families and shared with professionals in Health and Education encourage ‘a CAN DO’ and family centered approach.
The Monitoring Protocol for deaf babies and children
– Should be held by families and supported in its use by professionals working with the family.
Fridge Cards pdf
There are 3 cards for each stage. And they give key pointers of how you can recognise the child is at this stage and what you can do to support the next steps at this stage. Communication; Attending, Listening and Vocalisations; Play.
Summative Record pdf
There is a fold out sheet for each stage and on one sheet you can see across all areas of development at each stage. It is a good overview and helps families realise that their child can be at an earlier stage for example in listening and talking but may be age appropriate in other milestones.
Professionals may use this Summative record to keep track of development without having the whole document which is held by families. Some families find this is enough and is a simpler way to keep track. (It doesn’t however have the detail of support ideas the full Monitoring protocol has.)
The Teacher of the deaf after sharing the Monitoring Protocol with families will have a good idea of the stage the child is at and working in the home will understand the needs of the family and want to support the next step to the next stage. Within the Monitoring Protocol there are check stages at B5 , B9 and B11. If you are finding that a child and family are needing support to move the child on, visit the Level 2 materials.
The Level 2 materials will offer ideas and also opportunities for discussion and how you can personalise the practical advice that will support the next step. Teachers of the deaf have often used the Level 2 materials to check also what needs following up, reviewing or checking or the involvement of another professional. This section has also opened up an opportunity to celebrate the developments made and help families feel secure about what they are doing and the professional advice they have been given. It also clarifies the stage the child is at.
- Helps identify personalised family focused real situations as to how development can be facilitated.
- Provides the reason why specific interactions are so supportive.
- Allows for individual circumstances and what the family feels comfortable with.
- Highlights positive outcomes
- Useful to copy and discuss at Family support groups when you have families together.
- Great as it works for all children.
Attending listening and Vocalisations
- Helps parents and practitioners identify the order of sound development
- Helps to monitor the capabilities of the’ hearing aid ‘ and inform tuning
- Enables parents and practitioners to track development
- Helps keep expectations realistic, not asking child to make sounds it is not ready for developmentally ( or can’t hear)
- Provides practical advice to parents and settings, who want to know what they can do to encourage listening behaviours and sound awareness
Early words and meaning
- Provides guidance on when to use
- Helps parents and practitioners to recognise the development of real words comes after a great deal of listening time ;
- That there is a process that evolves through contingent experiences
- Helps practitioners understand that ‘teaching speech’ or therapy sessions do not speed up the development of language.
- Helps practitioners to explain to parents how invaluable are the language and interaction opportunities of the home .
Early grammar development
- Helps parents and practitioners identify and confirm development and readiness to move on.
- Ensures that goals are realistic and that expectations are sequential
- Provides the detail that we practitioners are after and the detail that some families need to track.
- Helps practitioners ask the questions and understand how and how much the family are doing to support their child.
- Ensures that families have structure to track and understand what to look at without structuring the approach and support
- Recognising the order of language development .
- Provides practitioners with the detail and how to record the evidence, thus helping with reports that share the information
Glossary pdf – An explanation of some of the terminology used throughout the documents.