“My mother practically cried when I heard a cricket chirping in the house,” says a woman who got a cochlear implant at age 11. Jane R. Madell, a pediatric audiology consultant …in Brooklyn, N.Y., wants every parent with a child who is born hearing-impaired to know that it is now possible for nearly all children with severe hearing loss to learn to listen and speak as if their hearing were completely normal.” J. Brody, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post With Answer Key
Excerpt: “Unlocking The world of Sound for Deaf Children” By Jane E. Brody, The New York Times
‘Children identified with hearing loss at birth and fitted with technology in the first weeks of life blend in so well with everyone else that people don’t realize there are so many deaf children,’ she told me.
With the appropriate hearing device and auditory training for children and their caregivers during the preschool years, even those born deaf ‘will have the ability to learn with their peers when they start school,’ Dr. Madell said. ‘Eighty-five percent of such children are successfully mainstreamed. Parents need to know that listening and spoken language is a possibility for their children.’
Determined to get this message out to all who learn their children lack normal hearing, Dr. Madell and Irene Taylor Brodsky produced a documentary,“The Listening Project, to demonstrate the enormous help available through modern hearing assists and auditory training…
Ms. [Amy] Pollick, a psychologist, 43 and deaf since birth, lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two young children, all with normal hearing. Her deaf parents, determined that she learn to speak, got her a hearing aid at 6 months along with years of auditory therapy…She told me, ‘The earlier you get the implant, the more successful it is because the more auditory input the brain gets at an early age, the better the auditory skills you will develop.’
A cochlear implant bypasses the nonfunctioning hair cells of the auditory system and transmits sound directly to the auditory nerve so that the brain can process it. Implants can be inserted in babies before they can walk.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, children with profound hearing loss who receive implants before 18 months of age ‘develop language skills at a rate comparable to children with normal hearing… But, as Dr. Madell points out, only 0.1 percent of the population knows sign language, and 95 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, who then have to spend a long time learning to sign, during a period when children are normally learning to speak.
‘Deafness today is not what it was 20 years ago,’ she said. Every baby born in the United States is supposed to be screened at birth for hearing loss. One baby in 1,000 of those screened will turn out to have moderate, severe or profound hearing loss that, if not promptly and properly treated, can delay their ability to learn to speak and understand speech. Today’s auditory technology makes it possible for these babies to be fitted with a device that enables them to hear and, with auditory training, develop language skills as good as those of their normal-hearing peers.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming
Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about deaf people. Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.
For additional charts Visit ESL Voices List of Charts http://esl-voices.com/teachers/charts-and-organizers/
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Children fitted with technology in the first weeks of life blend in well with everyone else.
- Children need the appropriate hearing device and auditory training during the preschool years.
- Eighty-five percent will be successfully mainstreamed.
- Still, many deaf people resist the current technology.
- They reject the idea that deafness needs to be corrected.
- Every child with hearing loss will be able to hear with hearing aids and cochlear implants.
- One baby in 1,000 of those screened will turn out to have moderate, severe or profound hearing loss.
- Jane R. Madell, a pediatric audiology consultant.
- Many children will have the ability to learn with their peers when they start school.
- I heard a cricket chirping in the house for the first time.
Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.
All started out with___that helped them learn to ___and ___spoken language. But now all have___implants that, as Ms. Lippert put it, “really revolutionized my world” when, at age 11, she became the first___to get a cochlear implant at New York University Medical Center. “Suddenly when I was playing___I could hear what my ___were saying,” Ms. Lippert, now 33, recalled.
WORD LIST:speak, cochlear, teammates preteen, soccer, hearing aids, understand,
Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
My mother practically/practical cried/cry when I hear/heard a cricket chirping in/on the house. I couldn’t talk on/in the phone before. Now in my/mine job at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Manhattan, I’d/I’m on the phone all days/day long. The implant have/has been a/an wonderful gift.
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: In groups, have students discuss the following questions taken from the blog: Myths and Misconceptions about Deaf People After, have them check their answers and share them as a class.
- All deaf and hard of hearing persons benefit from hearing devices. Why or why not?
- For some deaf people, English is a second language. Why do you think this is so?
- Most deaf people communicate in sign language. Do you think that this is true? Explain why or why not.
- Do you think that a deaf person can drive a car? Explain why or why not.
- Do you believe that most deaf people are able to read lips?
- Many believe that deaf people can’t talk. Is this true or false? Why?
- If you shout at a person with a hearing loss they will hear you better. Does this work? How do you know?
1-Minute Free Writing Exercise
Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.