TOP TIPS – Working with your Deaf child

Welcome to Hughan’s Diary Top Tips.

These are the top tips that I was introduced to when we first started the program at the Carel du Toit Centre, in Cape Town, in February 1990.

Keeping a Diary

A diary is a fantastic way of writing down the progress your child is making, activities you have done at home concerning your child’s development.

Take photos of the activities you do as well.

The diary should be fun and where you get your inspiration.

By doing this every day or at least once a week it enables you to look back at your diary notes and realise the improvements.

(I am able to look back 23 years to our diary to realise what we did to help our son)

Name Everything – Everything has a Name

Never use the word – “It”.

Everything has a name. By naming everything your child will learn the language. Repeat and repeat the same words and short sentences as often as possible. Keep it simple!

For example –     say “ball….give me the ball”

–          not “give ‘it’ to me”

A hearing impaired child needs to hear a word many times (I was told 20,000 times) before they will have the inclination to repeat that.

1) Always Face towards the light (window)

Your child must see your face clearly when you talk to them, because they can make use of the extra information to fill in “gaps” – your emotion (sad, happy, excited).

2) Eye contact –

Always make eye contact on eye level.

Kneel down when you talk to your child, or pick him up, or hold them on your lap.

3) Hold objects next to your face –

Hold objects which you are talking about next to your face.

e.g. “ball”, hold a ball next to your face when giving the word.

“This is a ball”, “this is David’s ball”, “catch the ball”, “give me the ball”.

4) Talk about things that interest your child –

Talk about the things he is doing, is looking at, is playing with, is eating.

Talk about his clothes and his body parts when dressing him, also at bedtime.

Talk for him e.g. your child points to a ball (maybe also making some “sounds”).

Ask yourself – what does he want to say? Then say the words for him –

“I want the ball”, “give me the ball”, “here is the ball”.

5) Auditory training –

This is also very important. Your child has residual hearing and we must help to make the most of it.

We must develop his listening skills

a)      we must make him aware of sound and no sound

b)      he must be able to localise sound (where it is coming from)

c)       he must react correctly to sound

d)      he must learn the meaning of sound

e)      we must refine sound

6) speak clearly and in full sentence –

Take one word out of the sentence and repeat it, if you want the child to repeat it. Use that word again in a sentence.

e.g. “cup”, “this is a cup”, “take the cup”.

7) Encourage the child to copy words –

Be happy if he says something even if it is just a sound or part of a word because this will encourage him to try again. Copy what he says because this will teach him what communication is:

e.g. mummy says something…….( I listen)

I say something…….. (mummy listens)

8) Remember – everything has a name –

Give the child the names for things and actions and so the number of words he knows will become more.

e.g. “car”, “this is a car”, “daddy drives a car”.

All babies hear a number of sounds. They become familiar with this sounds.

The sounds which have an important meaning for the child, will be the most easily learnt.

The most important sound is his mother and father’s voice.

On getting used to his mother’s voice (sound), he shows a response.

He discovers his own voice (sound), then later on he tries to imitate the sounds he hears. That is why meaningful talk and repetition is so important.

If his parents imitate his sound, he starts learning the meaning of communication:

e.g. – baby smiled at mummy……. mummy smiled back.

– baby makes babbling sounds…….. mummy imitates them – they are communicating!


1) always wear their hearing aids

2) keep the moulds clean

3) check that the batteries

4) when you put their hearing aids on, smile and say “I can hear”! Your face must show him that hearing is fun.

Also “educate” all the members of the family and friends who play with, or talk to your child – this is very important.

This is a team effort and your child will only benefit from it.

“I hope you find these top tips helpful while you are working with your child”.

Remember your child will copy your actions.

Never get angry or frustrated with your hearing impaired child – they will copy you!

By giving your child love and encouragement they can achieve everything you wish…..

I feel blessed to have had their hearing impaired child myself. He has taught us so much.

(I started this website to help other patents with deaf children through our experience. Our son Hughan was born in 1988 and was diagnosed profoundly deaf at 14 months old. We kept a Diary, so his progress could be tracked between our lessons, as we were living in Gaborone in Botswana and traveled every 3 months to the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town.)