Dedicated to helping Deaf and hard-of-hearing children grow and learn in a world they cannot hear
Home Intervention for Deaf Children

Children's stories:




Born 6 weeks premature, Matthew was prescribed Ototoxic drugs for a viral infection. His parents were not informed of possible side effects (hearing loss).

When Matthew was 4 months of age, his pediatrician referred him for a hearing test. The results showed that Matthew had a mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears. He was fitted with hearing aids and his audiologist referred the family to HI HOPES.    

Our first priority was to establish a good relationship with the family, including Matthew's Ouma (Granny). Matthew was the first grandchild and both the parents and the grandmother were devastated by his deafness. No one on either side of the family had a hearing loss.

donateThe HI HOPES Parent Advisor started with ways to help the family come to terms with the loss of Matthew's hearing and to assist the parents, especially the mom, to bond with her son. Once they accepted and understood the nature and implications of Matthew's hearing difficulties, the family devoted themselves to his intervention programme.

The most important first step was to help them with getting Matthew to keep his hearing aids on so that he could maximize environmental sounds; Matthew proved most resistant!    

Communication methods were discussed with the family. Because the oral world is their world and the only world they know, the parents chose to centre on the Aural-Oral approach.

However, with all the knowledge and understanding gained from HI HOPESintervention, they subsequetly decided on the value of their son learning to sign.

A HI HOPES Deaf Mentor (DM) was introduced to the family. The DM acts as a role model for the Deaf child, whilst also exposing the parents to the Deaf world, by giving them the opportunity to ask questions about what it is like to be Deaf; about schooling and the work environment as a Deaf person.

The DM taught Matthew and his parents Sign Language, and now Matthew happily uses Sign Language alongside his oral communication skills. This is a good compromise with which the family is happy. Matthew is doing really well and beginning to demonstrate the future possibilities of his intellectual and language potential as a result of the early input of the HI HOPES programme.


Deaf boy

Matthew with his Parent Advisor, Dawn



Erin was born at 25 weeks, weighing only 585 grams, and spent the first four months of her life in an incubator.

She was diagnosed with a profound bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss at 2 months of age and amplification began at 6 months. However Erin was not wearing her hearing aids on a full-time basis. She found them uncomfortable and kept pulling them off. She was attending speech therapy on a weekly basis.

Erin was referred to HI HOPES at 18 months of age. Our Parent Advisor (PA) began early intervention with the family. During her first few visits, she concentrated on the parents' concern for Erin banging her head. This seemed to be a way to get attention from those around her.

Our PA visited the family on a weekly basis, providing informational and emotional support to the family, as well as assistance with opening up communication between themselves and Erin. A language assessment was carried out every 4 months to assess Erin's language development (both receptive and expressive language).

Topics covered by the Parent Advisor in the home visits included:

  • The three communication options (Spoken Language, Signed Language, SimComm) of which the family chose to use SimComm (signing and speaking);
  • Hearing aids;
  • Literacy;
  • Information on cochlear implants.

On 6th May 2009 Erin underwent surgery for a cochlear implant. She is responding well to the device and undergoes speech therapy twice a week. Erin uses the following signs: FISH, BALL, KEY, PAPER, BIRD and BUNNY. She also waves BYE-BYE, and has her own sign for DOG and FOOD.

She also uses some sounds and words, and turns to loud sounds and music, as well as when someone is knocking at the door. She points to her ear when she hears something.

Erin gets very excited when she sees her Parent Advisor and is the centre of attention during home visits. She points to things in the room and looks for information regarding what she is pointing to. She is very receptive to gestures, signs, words and actions.

Erin loves animals. She enjoys watching animals on television, looking through her animal picture book or having signs, words and sounds made while looking at her animal chart.

She enjoys playing with her shape sorter, scribbling on paper and playing with any toy that has flashing lights. As her vocabulary develops and her communication grows, Erin no longer finds the need to bang her head to get attention, thus providing much relief to her parents as they were worried she may injure herself.

Erin's parents have worked hard towards her development and will continue to do so as they can see how Erin is now responding and how her vocabulary is increasing on a daily basis.

Erin enjoys interacting with others and her vocabulary is growing by the day




Hamdan was born through natural birth; her mom had no pregnancy or birth complications. But at 8 months of age, this little girl was diagnosed with a bilateral severe to profound hearing loss and possible Leopard Syndrome. She was referred to HI HOPES at 16 months, and after being in the programme for just under two years, she is now a successful HI HOPES graduate!

During the period of intervention, the Parent Advisor spent time with the family discussing Hamdan's development and providing the family with support. Five language assessments were done over the intervention period.

This language assessment, known as the Language Development Scale (LDS), is used quarterly to monitor the language development (both receptive and expressive language) of infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In addition to this assessment, the Bayley Scale of Infant and Toddler Development and the Developmental Assessment of Young Children (DAYC) is used every six months to monitor the child's overall development.

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