There are many forms of rehabilitation training for hearing impaired children, among which toys play an important role. The way of teaching with pleasure is the best for the rehabilitation of hearing-impaired children. However, parents should pay special attention to the choice of toys. Some toys may also aggravate children’s hearing impairment.

Compared with many years ago, our speech rehabilitation tools for hearing impaired children are not only simple as picture books. Recently, talking video and electronic toys are more popular. Many parents have heard that this kind of video and electronic toys can help their children learn to speak, and they are willing to pay a lot of money to buy them. Some toys claim to promote language learning by simply pressing a button to speak, sing or make a sound, and some advanced toys even have small screens.


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Can such toys really help hearing impaired children learn to speak? A report published in the Journal of Pediatrics of the American Medical Association warns that such educational electronic toys may have the opposite effect.

Parent child communication experiment

Experts in communication disorders at the University of North Arizona in the United States recruited 26 volunteer couples through advertisements and observed their interactions with their children (about 10-16 months old).

In order to minimize the sample variables, she distributed three types of toys for each family, namely, electronic toys (such as baby reading pen, vocal plush toys, iPad, etc.), traditional toys (such as building blocks, LEGO toys, digital puzzles, etc.), and five picture books with farm animals, colors or letters as the theme. Dr. Anna asked parents to control their children’s playing time and set a limit of three days for each type of toy.

In the process of playing games, the microphone will be placed on the pocket of children’s clothes to record the communication between the two sides when they play toys with their parents.

The results show that when children play electronic toys, they not only make less active voice, but also the role of parents around them is almost only to accompany them. If the unit is 15 minutes, the total communication between the two sides is only 40 words. But if the electronic toy is changed to a traditional toy, the two sides can exchange up to 56 words per minute. If you change to picture books, you can exchange up to 67 pictures per minute.


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Why electronic toys lose to picture books

When playing with traditional toys, parents usually unconsciously tell their children the names and characteristics of things, while when reading books, they also point to pictures to provide relevant information or imagine with their children. Compared with the situation of playing electronic toys, reading picture books not only uses more vocabulary, but also can lead children to associate and learn more vocabulary.

According to the existing research, if hearing impaired children can communicate with their parents more, their language development will be faster than others; and relying on electronic toys seems to make parents have the illusion of giving their children sound stimulation, thus reducing meaningful speech communication between parents and children, which is obviously more harmful than beneficial.


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Nothing can replace parent-child communication

In view of this, listening experts suggest that instead of buying expensive electronic toys for children, we should buy some traditional toys or picture books for children. Of course, parents need to take time to be patient with children. According to the statistics of speech rehabilitation data, the benefits of parent-child communication to hearing impaired children are far more than that of electronic “educational toys”.

Toys are only a tool for rehabilitation training of hearing-impaired children, and more importantly, human guidance. If parents do not know how to guide their children through toys for rehabilitation training, no matter how good or how expensive the toys are, there is no point.

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Link:Speech rehabilitation of deaf children

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