Language/Speech Development- EVERYONE’S RIGHT Communication opens their world to possibilities beyond their imagination.Language first.HDA’s priority is teaching the deaf their heart language, which is sign language, enabling them to communicate with deaf friends and staff. They are taught about the love of God, and their parents' love and the caring environment of HDA empowers them to want to learn more.Many are provided hearing devices and are coached in speech development. Language leads to academic learning and life skills, whether through sign language or speech. Counting money, ability to shop in the local markets, reading recipes. Independence. Some refer to the HDA ministry as a rescue operation, especially for those children who come to HDA with no language skills. Most live in isolation, unable to communicate with parents and siblings, as most come from hearing families. Many are subject to abuse. Deaf are often misunderstood and are ostracized as “unclean” or even “possessed”. The development of foundational sign language is critical to the success of our programs. Shy and introverted students thrive as they begin to sign with their peers, play games, joke, and learn with “like” friends. SPEECH During entrance hearing screenings, students are given hearing assist devices if appropriate and are offered a version of speech therapy. As trained speech therapists are not available, local hearing tutors are taught to practice speaking with the children. Lip reading also becomes a reality for some. The students are encouraged to use their voices to accompany their sign language skills when possible. With these “Oral” skills, hard-of-hearing students can often be taught to communicate verbally, further enhancing their integration into the hearing world. Challenges in this area include a lack of access to trained speech therapists. Read More Rose Mitsaelle lining up her letters Kenelson knows his name's first letter!