Alternative Communication Methods for deaf childrenFor all deaf children, individual communication needs are assessed carefully by all those concerned with their development. In the UK, most deaf children and young people are offered communication methods based on the majority language, English.


Auditory / Oral

Through use of appropriate hearing and tactile aids, some hearing impaired children are able to develop an understanding of spoken language using their residual hearing and speech reading.

Speach reading (lip reading)

Lip reading is the understanding or clarification of the spoken word through the recognition of the facial patterns of speech. Ask your local Hearing Therapist or Audiologist for details of local Lip Reading Classes.

For further information

Manual Communication

Some children use sign for all or part of their time in education and some will continue to use it as their main method of communication throughout their lives.

Sign components include:

British Sign Language (BSL)

BSL is a language in its own right, with grammatical structure and linguistic features. It cannot be used simultaneously with spoken English.

Ask your local Hearing Therapist or Audiologist for details of local BSL Classes.

Cued Speech

A one handed supplement to spoken language.


Manual representation of the letters of the alphabet.

Sign supported English (SSE)

Incorporates signs from BSL and fingerspelling to supplement spoken words and clarify the spoken message

Signed English (SE)

Signs taken from BSL together with generated signs and markers are used with fingerspelling to give an exact representation of spoken English.


A simple sign is paired with either an object or pictorial representation of the target word to aid language comprehension

Total Communication

Each component may be used alone or in combination with another method. “Total Communication” is the term used to describe a method where signed and aural/oral components are combined.

For further information contact your Teacher of the Deaf, Audiologist or click here: