Evaluating Communications Options for Your Child

Historically, teachers, doctors and other professionals talked with families about a child’s communications “options.” Today, the word “options” has been replaced with “outcomes” as a reflection of the hearing loss community’s focus on the success of the child.

For children with hearing loss, there are four primary communication outcomes, each tied to an approach to language:

  • Listening and Spoken Language
  • Cued Speech/Language
  • American Sign Language/Bilingual-Bicultural
  • Total Communication Method

Mastering a communication outcome requires hard work and dedication on the part of the child and family. A child’s brain is ready to learn language at an early age, even though he or she will not be able to understand or communicate back right away. Remember that you are laying the foundation for communication proficiency from day one. It is important to stick with one option for long enough to determine that it is the right one for your child and your family.

Total Communication uses a combination of methods to teach a child to communicate including a form of sign language, finger spelling, speech reading, speaking and amplification. The sign systems used in Total Communication are typically based in English word order, follow English grammatical structure and do not represent a separate language as is the case with American Sign Language.

Reach Us

Alexander Graham Bell Association
for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

3417 Volta Place NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: 202-337-5220
TTY: 202-337-5221
Fax: 202-337-8314

[email protected]

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Our Mission

Working globally to ensure that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can hear and talk. 

We want all families to be informed and supported, professionals to be appropriately qualified to teach and help children with hearing loss, public policy leaders to effectively address the needs of people with hearing loss, and communities to be empowered to help their neighbors with hearing loss succeed.