Communication Approaches

We all communicate in different ways: with facial expressions, gestures and body language as well as through speech and hearing. Each child is different and there are many ways to help your child to communicate. Your local teacher of the deaf or speech and language therapist will be able to discuss these options with you in more detail.

Oral-aural communication

A method that emphasizes the use of residual hearing and lip-reading to teach spoken language.( Click for more)


This is similar to the oral-aural approach, but lip-reading is not used. It is often referred to as “active listening”. .( Click for more)

Sign language

A visual and manual language using handshapes and the rest of the body, including the face, to convey words and concepts, e.g. British Sign Language (BSL). Sign language is an independent language with a specific vocabulary and grammatical structure. .( Click for more)

Total communication

A habilitation approach consisting of the integration of oral/aural and manual communication strategies.

Although these are separate ways of communicating with your child, some people choose to use them in combination. Some parents may talk to their child, while others use speech and sign. Some parents may be hearing impaired themselves, and may choose to communicate with their child using oral-aural communication or sign language. The mode of communication you use with your child may change over time, depending on their amplification, schooling and other factors. Ask your local professional about the different communication options and resources available. .( Click for more)