Research & Resource Center with Deaf* communities
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CAs soon as a child is born she becomes a communicator. Babies fuss when they are hungry, tired or need to be changed. They breathe slowly and evenly when they are relaxed and startle at sudden sounds. Babies coo and smile when they are happy. Very young children may scream and cry when they do not get what they want, when things they like are taken away, or when they want attention, or are bored, or have finished activities they love. At this state of life children are not yet using language, but are they communicating? Yes, they are!
Teaching children to communicate
Developing a system to teach communication to children who are born without disabilities is not necessary. They learn language by watching and listening. Without formal teaching, they learn the meaning of body language and tone of voice. Children without disabilities learn the power that comes with being able to tell others what they want and need, as well as what they do not want. In these children, language develops as a result of incidental learning.
Conversely, incidental learning is not as likely to occur for children who are deafblind. These children have limited vision and hearing, the two senses used to obtain information that enables children to develop language. (Carnes,).