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

Speech and Language Pathologist

Children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) may need direct support with social communication, speech, and/or language skills. A speech language pathologist (SLP) may be able to help a child talk, listen, or read non-verbal body language, which is important for friendship and relationship building. SLPs may be able to provide information about communication modes available to children who are D/HH.

However, not all SLPs have the same training or know how to use all of the communication modes or have experience with specific hearing technology. Some SLP's are trained in American Sign Language (ASL) and some also have Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT). Thus, consider asking your child’s SLP about their expertise and training.

Some children may have an SLP in a hospital setting for therapies, such as swallowing or feeding, and an SLP at school for other aspects such as social communication or articulation. SLPs may also serve children in private settings, such as at home or a private practice. When these professionals connect the medical and educational goals and progress in each environment, the child receives more combined services across settings. Again, like with other medical and educational professionals, release forms and your permission is needed to share information about your child across both settings.

A key role of an SLP is to assist children who are D/HH with their social communication. Children who are D/HH may miss important conversations which contain vital information that will affect their experiences and in turn, their responses and interactions in those situations. For example, children who do not hear adults talking about getting ready for an upcoming activity, may not prepare themselves for that event or may respond with surprise, while the other children in the environment heard the conversation and have started to prepare. In addition, emotions are often communicated through tone of voice. If this information is missed, a child who is D/HH may misinterpret the intended message. A child who is D/HH may talk over other people, not realizing another person is talking. An SLP can help children who are D/HH identify and work with the social cues and behaviors that might be missed.

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Do you want more information about SLPs and their work with students who are D/HH?
See Roles of Speech-Language Pathologists and Teachers of Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Development of Communicative and Linguistic Competence (ASHA)