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Learning new information and skills

Photo: Deaf children are able to learn new information and concepts just like any other child

Children need to be able to access, understand and use lots of new information and concepts in order to learn at home, school and in later life.

You can find out more about the different ways children learn new information and skills below.

You can help with accessible learning:

Deaf children can learn new information and concepts just like any other child, but they may need some extra support or adaptations. 

For example: 

  • make sure your child is using all the technology available to them
  • use sign, speech, gestures and facial expressions to help them to understand
  • use pictures objects and diagrams to give more information about what you’re saying
  • give instructions clearly with only one bit of information in each sentence
  • adding pictures to instructions or showing your child what you want them to do
  • explain new words and ideas
  • wait until your child has stopped writing or drawing before asking them to listen
  • repeat and practice new information multiple times
  • play games which practice new learning such as counting games and/or word games
  • ask your child’s school what they’re learning so you can support them at home
  • build in plenty of breaks as deaf children may become tired more quickly as listening, concentration and lip-reading requires extra energy.
  • make sure the content is accessible if they're learning online. For example, they might need the subtitles on if they’re watching a video.

We have lots of information about how to support your child’s learning here.

You can help with building vocabulary:

In order to learn new concepts and skills children must be able to understand the words being used to describe them. Sometimes deaf children may not understand a new concept or skill because they don’t know the meaning of the words being used not because the new skill or concept is too difficult. Deaf children may take longer to learn new words because they don’t overhear new words as often as other children.

You can help your child by: 

  • giving them visual information to support learning the new word. For example, show your child a picture of the new word, write it down, or use a sign
  • using the right vocabulary. Sometimes your child has to know the meaning of the word in order to carry out an activity. For example, a child may need to understand the word ‘estimate’ in order to complete a maths problem
  • thinking about the words your child needs to know in order to complete an activity and teach them the new words before they start.
  • encouraging them to use a range of words when they’re talking to you and repeat back what they’ve said introducing a new word or adding extra information
  • linking a word your child already knows to a new word. For example, when teaching the word ‘severe,’ your child may learn more easily when it’s related to a personal experience than to a story about the weather (e.g. a severe injury).
  • writing down words which sound the same but have different meanings (homophones). For example, bear and bare 
  • putting the new word into a sentence to help with meaning. Some words change meaning according to context. For example – bar. 
  • repeating new words many times. Seeing and using a new word or phrase in different contexts and activities will also help.
  • asking your their school if they can share with you the topics they'll be teaching and the new words they'll be using with your child.

You can help improve working memory:

Working memory helps children to keep in mind anything they need to remember whilst they’re doing something. It plays an important role in concentration, following instructions and learning in many different subject areas including reading and maths. Deaf children sometimes have challenges with their auditory working memory, which is remembering and using spoken information whilst trying to write down information, read or solve a maths problem.

We have plenty of information and activities to help children improve their working memory available here