If your child has received a cochlear implant, you might be thinking about whether or not you should teach them more than one spoken language. Many children will grow up learning multiple languages, whether in the home or through schooling, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be different if your child has a cochlear implant. If you decide to teach them two, or maybe more, languages, there are a few different approaches and tips that you can use to help them learn their best.
Learning With a Cochlear Implant
Usually there aren’t any reasons why you should think that having a cochlear implant means your child cannot learn two languages. Rather, learning two languages may be a positive for your child. It can give them the ability to understand and enjoy multiple cultures more easily, help them build a diverse range of work and other opportunities in life, and just give an overall increased feeling of self-worth and personal identity.
How Can I Start?
A good place to start is by speaking with your child’s auditory or rehabilitation specialist. They might have specific tips for your child’s individual situation, and the possibilities for he or she in learning more than one language.
There are two main approaches to teaching more than one language. The first would be two use two languages from the very start of your child’s hearing journey, or you could start with one language at home and introduce another while they are at school. For both of these, there are a few ways that you can ensure they develop their best:
- Involve yourself with your child’s language development. If you’re teaching at home be sure to actively use both languages, or if they’re learning at school ask questions about their day’s lessons.
- Give your child plenty of encouragement and support. By being motivated you can also keep them motivated.
- Introduce larger elements of culture to give context to the language.
- Keep your child involved with proficient speakers of each or all the languages that they’re learning, like by organizing playtime with other children who are learning or know the language.
- Look for cultural activities that you can share with your child while involving the language, like going to the theater or an interactive museum.
- Play games! Some games, like “I Spy” or Bingo can be just as easily played in one language as in the other.
- Read aloud to them stories from each language and culture.
- Search out television shows or movies in the languages that they’re learning. Watch them together, and let your child know that they can always ask you questions if they have some.
And, now might be a good time to take a look at our post about improving your listening and communication skills, which can be used by someone learning multiple languages just as easily as by someone learning one language.