Young deaf students attending Lawrence Elementary School in the US have seen the literacy and numeracy benefits of a new software programme.
In the classroom, audio output from the computer is sent via radio waves, directly to receivers the students wear on their hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. Ambient noise is limited for the children to hear more clearly.
The technology gives students new opportunities as they benefit from hearing a computer’s audio output, unlike the past focus on visual teaching.
Paige DeWitt, Principal of the school has already seen the benefits.
“All kids like technology. It’s their world now. This has involved them more in technology. When you watch them, their faces light up. They squeal,” DeWitt said. “They can hear the sounds. It helps them learn more of the phonetic base of the language in a way they have fun doing.”
Computers provide endless opportunities for deaf/hard of hearing students.
One example is the iCommunicator software, which promotes independent communication and increases literacy by ‘translating’ English in real-time.
Through the iCommunicator, speech can be translated to text, speech/text to video sign-language and speech/text to a computer-generated voice. Students have access to efficient, effective communication and equally, can access audio information. Language and reading skills also improve visibly.
The ABC software company offers a range of material to improve literacy and speech levels in children. The programmes operate via cued speech and give visual access to the sounds of spoken language.
Each ABC programme covers different subjects from animals to colours and more. The modular programmes teach through games and offer progress tests at each level for students aged 7-16 years old.