Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from J.A., New York

My son is 4years/10 months old. What should his Deaf/Hard of hearing preschool be focusing on during his last yer before Kindergarten??

Question from J.A., New York. Posted October 17, 2011.
Response from Marilyn Sass-Lehrer - Gallaudet University

Every child has unique strengths and areas that are developing. You, your child’s teacher and other specialists know your son best and, therefore, are in the best position to know what he needs. Of course, we want all children who are deaf or hard of hearing to demonstrate the same linguistic, cognitive, social and emotional, and motor skills that are expected of hearing children as they enter kindergarten. A strong foundation in language (comprehension as well as expressive language), early literacy, and cognitive development (problem solving, concept development, etc.) are especially important. Children who are entering kindergarten with both hearing and deaf children will also need strong interpersonal/social skills for interacting and communicating with their peers and teachers. In preparation for the transition to kindergarten, you may want to consult the document posted on the Hands and Voices website: Bridge to Preschool: Navigating a Successful  Transition. This resource provides some excellent information for transitions to kindergarten and can help ensure that the transition is smooth.  http://www.handsandvoices.org/pdf/TransRevised0107.pdf

In addition to planning for transition, you should encourage the current program to develop a Communication Plan for your son. See this document for more information on communication plans:   http://www.handsandvoices.org/pdf/communication_plan.pdf