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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

How Do We Determine What My Child Needs to Develop Strong Language Skills?

A language assessment performed by a speech language pathologist (SLP) and/or an American Sign Language (ASL) specialist is advised. For your school-aged child, these professionals can be accessed through your local school district. If your child is younger than school age, your doctor or audiologist can usually refer you to one of these professionals.

A language assessment will provide important information about your child that will help in deciding on the most effective communication option(s) and design a plan for further language development. You may want to request a language assessment routinely so that your child’s progress can be monitored and supported throughout the entire language learning process.

The Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness at OCALI has a resource that walks a school team through considerations for communication supports, but it also provides some good steps that provide information on language options. The resource is the Communication Planning Guide and Section 1 might prove helpful.

Language options include:

  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • English
  • Bilingual (ASL and English)

There are many options for communication that are available for your child. Getting the most information about each option and your child’s ability will help you decide on the best option for you and your child. It is ok to try different options, switch options, or use multiple options.