Balavidyalaya School for Young Deaf Children Organised an International Conference on Parenting Deaf and Hard Of Hearing Children

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Chennai 19 December 2019: Balavidyalaya the School for Young Deaf Children organized a two-day International Conference on Parenting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Ratna, Former Director, AIISH, Mysore & AYJNISHD, Mumbai in the august presence of Dr.Christine Yoshinaga Itano, Research Professor, Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado, USA and Mr. Johny Tom Vargheese, IAS, Director for Persons with Disabilities & State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

The conference is to bring together policy makers, special educators, speech therapists, audiologists, doctors, psychologists, social workers engaged in the field of deafness and parents of children with hearing difficulty.

Deafness in young children interrupts the developmental process for acquiring spoken language normally observed in hearing infants. Where deafness is significant and permanent, the consequences of early failure to develop communication, language, and speech are long term, wide-ranging and well documented. Cognitive development, social development, and later educational progress including literacy are all affected.

Speaking about the conference Ms. Saraswathi Narayanaswamy, Honorary Director, Balavidyalaya School for Young Deaf Children said “Early identification of deafness, combined with effective early intervention, offers the best chance of the language, communication, and speech abilities of deaf children developing in line with the developmental pattern and time frame for hearing children. Effective support for families empowers parents to make informed decisions and take positive action on behalf of their child before language and communication deficit becomes established.”

She also added, “All the children at BALAVIDYALAYA, including the ones with severe or profound hearing loss, acquire language and speech skills. The barrier imposed by the hearing loss is overcome through appropriate intervention. This intervention can help the children make best use of their residual hearing through constant use of suitable hearing aids or Cochlear Implants and develop age appropriate languages skills. The curriculum followed at school prepares each child to participate in the mainstream education at the earliest possible age. The children enter the regular school, whenever they demonstrate the skills necessary for competing successfully with their hearing peer.”

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect. India is one of the largest country with 1.37 billion population and more than 100,000 babies are born with hearing deficiency every year. Four out of every thousand Indian children live with severe to profound hearing loss. Studies have shown that Early Intervention for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is the key point for achievement of age-appropriate speech perception and language development in hearing-impaired children.

The aim of Balavidyalaya is to provide comprehensive intervention for infants and young children with hearing impairment. State of the Art Diagnostic Center in the school is equipped with sophisticated equipments to diagnose hearing loss in children, fit them with suitable hearing aids, check the performance of the hearing aids, and check the middle ear function of children. This two day international conference will be the channel to create awareness on ‘Early Intervention’ in deaf children and its profound advantage.

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