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Title: What the Mother of a Deaf Child Ought to Know
Author: Wright, John Dutton, 1866-1952
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                  WHAT THE MOTHER OF A
                DEAF CHILD OUGHT TO KNOW

                          BY

                  JOHN DUTTON WRIGHT

FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL OF THE WRIGHT ORAL SCHOOL FOR THE
   DEAF, NEW YORK CITY; COLLABORATOR OF "THE LARYNGO-
     SCOPE" AND THE "VOLTA REVIEW"; DIRECTOR OF THE
      AMERICAN ASSOCIATION TO PROMOTE THE TEACHING
        OF SPEECH TO THE DEAF; AUTHOR OF "EDUCA-
           TIONAL NEEDS OF THE DEAF," FOR THE
                GUIDANCE OF PHYSICIANS

                 [Illustration: Logo]

                       NEW YORK
              FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
                      PUBLISHERS


                _Copyright, 1915, by_

              FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

 _All rights reserved, including that of translation
                 into foreign languages_

                    _March, 1915_


                     TO MY WIFE

          AT WHOSE SUGGESTION THIS LITTLE BOOK
            WAS WRITTEN IN ORDER THAT MOTHERS
              MAY DO ALL IN THEIR POWER FOR
                  THEIR DEAF CHILDREN



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                                 PAGE
       PREFACE                                        ix-xix

    I. FACING THE FACTS                                    1

   II. HOW SHALL THE MOTHER BEGIN HER PART OF THE WORK?    5

  III. HOW SHALL THE MOTHER GET INTO COMMUNICATION
       WITH HER DEAF CHILD?                               13

   IV. WHAT ABOUT THE BABY'S SPEECH?                      20

    V. DEVELOPING THE MENTAL FACULTIES                    22

   VI. DEVELOPING THE LUNGS                               30

  VII. THE CULTIVATION OF CREATIVE IMAGINATION            32

 VIII. FURTHER TESTS OF HEARING                           34

   IX. THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESIDUAL HEARING                38

    X. DEVELOPING THE POWER OF LIP-READING                43

   XI. FORMING CHARACTER                                  47

  XII. CULTIVATING THE SOCIAL INSTINCT                    50

 XIII. SOMETHING ABOUT SCHOOLS AND METHODS                53

  XIV. THE PRESERVATION OF SPEECH. WHEN DEAFNESS
       RESULTS FROM ACCIDENT OR ILLNESS AFTER INFANCY     58

   XV. TEACHING LIP-READING                               61

  XVI. SCHOOL AGE                                         63

 XVII. ORGANIZED EFFORTS BY PARENTS TO OBTAIN
       BETTER EDUCATIONAL CONDITIONS                      65

XVIII. A PERSONAL MATTER FOR EACH PARENT                  68

  XIX. DAY SCHOOLS                                        72

   XX. THE DEAF CHILD AT FIVE YEARS OF AGE                73

  XXI. SCHOOLS FOR THE HEARING AND PRIVATE GOVERNESSES    75

 XXII. IMPORTANCE OF THE BEGINNING                        80

XXIII. AVOID THE YOUNG AND INEXPERIENCED TEACHER          82

 XXIV. ON ENTERING SCHOOL                                 83

  XXV. DURING THE SCHOOL PERIOD                           98

 XXVI. DURING VACATION                                   101

XXVII. SOME NOTS                                         107



PREFACE


The mother of a little deaf child once wrote as follows:


     "As a mother of a deaf child, and one whose experience has been
     unusual only in that it has been more fortunate than that of the
     average mother so situated, I want to place before you (the
     teachers of the deaf) a plea for the education of the parents of
     little deaf children.

     "While you are laboring for the education of the deaf, and for
     their sakes are training teachers to carry on the work, there are,
     in almost every home that shelters a little deaf child, blunders
     being made that will retard his development and hinder your work
     for years to come--blunders that a little timely advice might
     prevent. We parents are not willfully ignorant, not always stupidly
     so; but that we are in most cases densely so, there can be no
     doubt.

     "Can you for the moment put yourselves into our place? Suppose you
     are just the ordinary American parents, perhaps living far from the
     center of things. You know in a hazy way that there are deaf and
     blind and other afflicted people--perhaps you have seen some of
     them.

     "Now, into your home comes disease or a sudden awakening to the
     meaning of existing conditions, and you find that _your_ child is
     _deaf_.

     "At first your thought is of physicians; they fail you. Advice from
     friends and advertisements from quacks pour in upon you; still you
     find no comfort and no help.

     "You stop talking to the child. What is the use? He cannot hear
     you! You pity him--oh, infinitely! And your pity takes the form of
     indulgence. You love him and you long to understand him; but you
     cannot interpret him and he feels the change, the helplessness in
     your attitude toward him. You try one thing after another,
     floundering desperately in your effort to discover what radical
     step must be taken to meet this emergency. After a time you seize
     upon the idea that seems to you the best. Probably it is to wait
     until he is six or seven and then put him into an institution. But
     while you wait for school age to arrive, you lose that close touch
     with the soul of your child which may be established only in these
     early years, for you have no adequate means of communication with
     him--no way to win his confidence. Soon the child has passed this
     stage, and no school can ever give him what you might and would
     have given had you known how.

     "You who are trained teachers of the deaf can hardly realize the
     need of advice about matters perfectly obvious to YOU; but the need
     exists. May I tell you from my own experience a few of the things
     about which you might advise--you, who know!

     "In the first place, suggest to parents that they make simple
     tests of their children's hearing; and tell them how and why those
     who are _partially_ deaf should be helped.

     "Then tell them to talk, and talk, and talk, to their little deaf
     ones--to say everything and say it naturally. And tell them some
     things in particular that should be said--commands, etc., and
     _certainly_ 'I love you.' Tell them to speak in whole sentences.
     Give them an idea of the possibilities of lip-reading.

     "Tell them that _by the expression of the face_ they may convey to
     the deaf child the interest, approval, disapproval, etc., that they
     would express to a hearing child in the tone of voice.

     "Tell them that there is _rarely_ an untrained person who can
     _safely_ meddle with articulation.

     "Tell them that it is not true that all deaf children are bad; that
     the deaf must learn obedience as others do.

     "Tell them the many things which you wish your pupils had learned
     before they entered school.

     "Only this I beg of you--tell them!
                                              "LUCILE M. MOORE."


For the sake of presenting the ideas contained in this little book in a
somewhat systematic manner it was best to arrange them on the
supposition that they would come to the notice of the mothers while
their children were yet less than two years of age. In many cases,
however, this will not be the case. When, therefore, the child is three,
four, or five years old when this falls into the hands of the mother, it
would still be well if she carried out the suggestions in the order in
which they are here arranged. With the maturity of mind and body that
comes with the added years, the child can pass through the earlier
stages of the training much more rapidly than can be the case with the
baby. Nevertheless, the preliminary steps should not be omitted. A child
of four can be carried in six months through the exercises that occupied
two years when begun with the child of twelve months, but the older
child should not be started with exercises suggested for the years after
two.

Mothers of deaf children cannot be expected to be trained teachers of
the deaf. It would be useless, and, in fact, often unfortunate, to ask
them to attempt to teach articulation to their children. Even for them
to teach the children to write would usually be undesirable because the
greatest gain from the mother's efforts comes from the early
establishment of the speech-reading habit and _entire_ dependence upon
it. It is a very great help to have this habit fixed before writing is
taught. There is no haste about the child's learning to write. That is
easily and quickly accomplished when the proper time comes. The
difficult thing to do is, very fortunately, the thing the mother is best
fitted to accomplish, namely, to create in the child the ability to
interpret speech by means of the eye, and the habit of expecting to get
ideas by watching the face of a speaker.

With these ideas in mind there has been careful avoidance in this
little book of any suggestion that the mother should be anxious about
the speech development of the child before five years of age. If she has
the patience and the time to follow the directions given, she will have
done her child a very great service; the greatest that lies within her
power; and she will have laid the foundation for a more rapid and better
development of speech than would have been possible without her
preliminary training.

Not every mother will find it possible to carry out all the suggestions
offered in this little book, but no one should feel discouraged on that
account. It seemed best to offer too many suggestions rather than too
few, because these pages may fall into the hands of some mothers whose
situation is such that full advantage can be taken of every idea here
given. Presence of too much matter in the little book will not destroy
its usefulness in cases where only a portion can be applied, whereas the
lack of some of the ideas might limit its value in certain instances.
No one should give up in despair just because it is not possible to do
all that is here suggested. Something, at least, can be found here which
it is possible to do that will help very much.

Sometimes, through a false sense of shame, or through ignorance of the
possibilities open to a deaf child, mothers have refused to admit that
their children were deaf, or to allow anything to be done for them,
until very valuable time has been lost. This is unfair to the child, and
very wrong. A mother should have only pity for the deaf child and
eagerness to aid him to overcome his handicap so far as possible. Delay
in frankly facing the facts and in taking all possible measures to
develop the remaining faculties will in the end only increase the
mother's shame and add to it the pangs of remorse.

In a little book written to guide physicians in advising parents of deaf
children, I said:

"The situation of a deaf child differs very much, from an educational
standpoint, from that of the little hearing child. Two hours a day
playing educational games in a kindergarten is as much as is usually
given, or is needful, for the little hearing child up to six or seven
years of age; and his mental development and success in after life will
not be seriously endangered if even that is omitted and he does not
begin to go to school until he is eight or nine. The hearing child of
eight who has never been in school and cannot read or write has,
nevertheless, without conscious effort, mastered the two most important
educational tasks in life. He has learned to speak and has acquired the
greater part of his working vocabulary. In other words, although he has
never been across the threshold of a school, his education is well
advanced for his years and mental development.

"The situation of the uninstructed deaf child of eight is very
different. The task which it has taken the hearing child eight years to
accomplish, the deaf child of eight has not even begun. He cannot speak
a word; he does not even know that there is such a thing as a word. He
is eight years behind his hearing brother, and even if he starts now,
unless some means can be found for aiding him to overtake his brother
educationally, he will be only eight years old in education when he is
sixteen years of age. And when he is sixteen, the psychological period
will have passed for acquiring what he should have learned when he was
eight. The fact that the child is deaf does not exempt him from the
inexorable laws of mental psychology and heredity. In the development of
the human mind there is a certain period when all conditions are
favorable for the acquisition of speech and language. Unnumbered
generations of ancestors acquired speech and language at that stage of
their mental development, and this little deaf descendant's mind obeys
the law of inherited tendencies.

"If the speech and language-learning period, from two years of age to
ten, is allowed to pass unimproved, the task of learning them later is
rendered unnecessarily difficult.

"Therefore, in the case of the little deaf child, the years from two to
ten are crucial, and of far greater importance than the same period in
the case of the hearing child."

Even though the child be totally deaf from birth, he can nevertheless be
taught to speak and to understand when others speak to him. He can be
given the same education that he would be capable of mastering if he
could hear. The mother need not be despairing nor heart-broken. A
prompt, brave, and intelligent facing of the situation will result in
making the child one to be proud of and to lean upon.

                                                  JOHN D. WRIGHT.

1 Mount Morris Park, West, New York City.
February, 1915.



WHAT THE MOTHER OF A DEAF CHILD OUGHT TO KNOW

(_Mothers are strongly advised to read the Preface_)



I

FACING THE FACTS


While deafness is a serious misfortune, it is neither a sin, nor a
disgrace, to be ashamed of. It is a handicap, to be sure, but one to be
bravely and cheerfully faced, for it does not destroy the chances for
happiness and success. It is cause for neither discouragement nor
despair. It will demand patient devotion and courageous effort to
overcome the disadvantage, but what mother is not willing to show these
in large measure for her child when the future holds assurance of
comfort and usefulness?

The earlier that the facts are known and squarely faced, the better. It
is always wiser in life to prepare for the worst and gratefully accept
the best, than to refuse to acknowledge the possibility of the worst
until it is too late to remedy it, or at least to reduce it to its
lowest terms.

When a mother first suspects that her child's hearing is not perfectly
normal, what should she do? Of course, first of all, the best available
ear specialist should be consulted at once in order to determine whether
the cause can be removed and normal hearing restored. Sometimes,
however, the specialists are uncertain of the outcome, and sometimes
their hopes are not realized. In the meantime, precious days and weeks
are passing in which something could be done for the little one
educationally, without in any way interfering with the medical efforts
at relief. The two things can be, and should be, carried on
simultaneously. If normal hearing is restored no harm has been done by
the educational training; in fact, the development of the child has been
advanced. On the other hand, if the hopes that were entertained are
disappointed, then precious and irrecoverable time has not been lost.

The title presupposes that the mother has already accepted the fact that
her child's hearing is not perfect, and, for the sake of the child, it
is to be hoped that this knowledge came to her very promptly after the
occurrence of the deafness.

One would naturally expect a mother, of her own accord, to carefully
test all the senses of her child by many simple and repeated exercises
during the first few months of its life. The many cases, however, in
which deafness on the part of a child has not been recognized, or at
least not acknowledged, by the mother till the third, fourth, or even
fifth year, show a strange neglect of a highly desirable investigation,
and a natural unwillingness to accept a truth, the possibility of which
must certainly have occurred to her long before.

If she could only realize that she need not feel downcast and
heavy-hearted by reason of her little one's imperfect hearing; if she
could only know that she need not look forward to a life for him
different from that of other children; if she could understand that
training and education can enable him to overcome to an extraordinary
degree the disadvantage of deafness, she would set about the task with
cheerfulness and hope, and if she knew that the sooner she began, the
better it would be for the little one, she would not stubbornly refuse
for so long to acknowledge even the possibility of deafness.



II

HOW SHALL THE MOTHER BEGIN HER PART OF THE WORK?


First of all, something like an inventory should be taken of the
faculties possessed by the child which he can use in working out his
problem. Has he good sight, normal smell, taste, muscular sense, and
memory? To what extent is his hearing impaired? Is there any possibility
of restoring it to normal acuteness, or of improving it, or of
preventing any further impairment?

The completeness with which these questions can be answered depends, to
a considerable extent, on his age and his physical condition. We will
suppose that he is about fifteen months old and in good bodily
condition. If he is older, the same tests would be used to begin with,
though we could at once pass on to more complicated and difficult ones
that cannot as yet be used with the fifteen-months-old baby.

First, with regard to sight. We wish to know if he can distinguish
reasonably small objects at reasonable distances; whether he can see
moderately small things at short distances; whether the angle of his
vision is normal. In other words, whether his range and angle of vision
are sufficient for all ordinary purposes.

If he can recognize his father or mother or brothers and sisters at a
distance of a hundred feet he can see far enough for all practical
purposes. If he readily finds a small object like a pin or a small black
bead when dropped on the floor, his sight is sharp enough at short range
to serve his purposes. If his attention can be attracted by waving a
hand or a little flag or a flower fifty or sixty degrees on either side
of the direction in which he is looking, that is, two-thirds of the way
to the side of his head, his angle of vision is sufficiently wide. If he
can pick out from seven balls of worsted of the seven primary
colors--red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet--the ball
that matches another of the same color, he is at least not color-blind
and has a sufficient sense of color for the ordinary purposes of life.
It may be necessary to wait till eighteen months for a satisfactory
color test. Color blindness, when present, is usually most apparent in a
failure to distinguish between red and green, these two widely differing
colors seeming to produce the same impression upon the color-blind eye.
The child will be just as likely to choose a red ball to match the green
one in his hand as to select another red ball. But repeated tests should
be made before accepting color blindness as a fact, since sometimes the
brain can be educated to discriminate between red and green even when
the impressions have not the normal degree of difference.

The tests for taste, smell, muscular sense, touch, and memory cannot be
made with much thoroughness or satisfaction till two years of age,
though observation will show a recognition by taste and smell of that
which is agreeable and that which is disagreeable. Accurate tests of
hearing cannot be made till the child is three or four, but it is
possible when he is twelve months old to determine whether the hearing
is normal or is seriously impaired, and it is very desirable that this
should be done.

The expression "seriously impaired," when applied to the hearing of a
little child, must be given an entirely different interpretation than it
would have if used with reference to an adult who had previously had
normal hearing. A degree of impairment that would be unimportant in an
adult is a very serious matter in the case of a child. This is because
the ear is the natural teacher of speech and language. If the sounds of
speech are not clearly heard the imitation of them will always be
imperfect, and the acquisition of language will be impeded. If deafness
is so great that spoken words are not heard at all, then the child will
not learn to speak and to understand when spoken to unless specially
taught. A much slighter degree of deafness will prevent the proper
acquisition of speech and language than would in later life prevent the
comprehension of conversation in a familiar language. As even the child
of fifteen months would benefit from some modifications of the ordinary
treatment of a baby, if his hearing was not normally acute, it is to his
advantage to have the fact of his deafness known at once by those in
charge of him.

It is not as easy as it might seem to the inexperienced to determine
even approximately the situation of a fifteen-months-old baby with
respect to its hearing. Our interest here is, of course, in the tests of
hearing that do not require special apparatus and special training. In
the case of a child less than two years of age we must rely upon merely
attracting his attention by various sounds, judging the effect upon him
by his expression and actions. We cannot, at that age, establish a
system of responses, nor expect him to imitate the sounds he hears.
Sounds should be used for testing that disturb only the air, and are
not sufficiently low and powerful to set in vibration the floor, chair,
or any other object with which he may be in contact. Deaf children
rapidly become abnormally sensitive to vibrations, which are to them
what noises are to us. A rather smooth, not too shrill, whistle is one
excellent sound to use. Not a fluttering whistle like the postman's, nor
a heavy tone like an organ pipe or bass horn. Clapping the hands is a
good initial test of a crude nature; then a moderate whistle, varying
the pitch, for sometimes high sounds are perceived, but not low ones, or
vice versa. Then a bell, such as a small table bell, the telephone,
electric door bell, etc. Lastly, the human voice in various pitches,
volumes, distances, and vowels. Little by little it can be determined
whether the child hears all the sounds, and if not, then which, if any,
he perceives. A totally deaf child may often deceive the investigator by
turning his head at the critical moment, apparently in response to the
sound that was made, while, on the other hand, a child very slightly
deaf, or not deaf at all, may completely ignore the sounds made for the
purpose of attracting his attention. Therefore, it takes time and
repeated tests under varying environments to gradually eliminate
possible errors and coincidences.

It must be remembered that the intensity with which a sound affects the
ear varies inversely as the square of the distance from the ear to the
source of the sound. That is to say, if exactly the same sound is
repeated at half the distance, the intensity with which it reaches the
ear is four times as great as before, and if the distance is quartered,
the intensity is sixteen times as great. In other words, if "ah" is
spoken with a certain loudness eight inches from the child's ear, and
then again with exactly the same pitch and volume only two inches from
his ear, it will be sixteen times as loud to him as it was the first
time.

These simple tests will serve to determine whether the child has, or has
not, a normal acuteness of hearing. They will not serve to determine
with any accuracy the degree of impairment, if it is found that the
hearing is impaired at all. More thorough tests will have to be
postponed till the child is two years old or more. But the moment that
impaired hearing is suspected, the best available ear specialist should
be consulted in order to determine whether the cause can be removed, or
measures taken to prevent a progressive increase in deafness.

The visit to the otologist should be repeated at intervals of not more
than eight or ten months, even where there is no question of treatment,
in order that any change in the physical condition of the organs may be
promptly detected.



III

HOW SHALL THE MOTHER GET INTO COMMUNICATION WITH HER DEAF CHILD?


Let it be assumed that when the child is fifteen months old it is fairly
well established that his hearing is somewhat below normal. Between
fifteen months and two years of age all that is said in this section
will apply equally to the child who is _feared_ to be _totally_ deaf and
to one who is known to possess some sound perception, though not a
normal degree of hearing. For, until he is old enough to respond to more
complete and accurate tests, we must not give up the idea that he may
have a sufficient remnant of hearing to be of great assistance to him in
the acquisition of speech and language, if it is only developed and
trained.

Between the ages of twelve months and twenty-four months the child with
perfect hearing makes rapid progress in learning to understand what is
said to him, and by the time he is two years old has usually begun to
speak many words and sentences in a more or less imperfect way. This has
been accomplished principally by the mother's constant talking to her
baby. If she has had the good sense to always speak in simple but
complete sentences, and to avoid the foolish "baby talk" unfortunately
affected by some people in addressing little children, the results of
her daily and hourly talk is the possession by the child of a
considerable vocabulary of words whose meaning he knows, and a less
number that he is able himself to speak in a rather imperfect way.

In what respects should the mother modify her treatment of the baby if
she suspects that his hearing is defective? She should not talk to him
any the less on this account, but, on the contrary, she should talk to
him more. She should, however, speak a little louder, a little nearer to
him, possibly a little more slowly and distinctly, exercising the
greatest caution, however, not to exaggerate speech into unnatural
facial contortions, or to accompany it by gestures. To fall into the
habit of mouthing and gesticulating, making faces and motions, will
defeat entirely the purpose of all efforts to develop an understanding
of speech by the child. Unfortunately, such exaggerated and absurd
speech is a natural and very prevalent fault. To avoid it is absolutely
necessary, but requires constant watchfulness, as there is a strong
temptation to try to make speech-reading easy for the child by opening
the mouth wide and making extraordinary movements of the tongue.

The object aimed at is to lead the child to interpret natural, everyday
speech, and such facial contortions and exaggerations cut him off from
practice in reading natural speech. This point cannot be too strongly
emphasized. Speak naturally and normally _always_ to the deaf child.

Above all, the mother should form the habit of watching his eyes and of
speaking as often as possible when his gaze is fixed upon her face. The
habit on his part of looking at the face of a speaker, and the habit on
his mother's part of observing his gaze and, when it wanders, of pausing
in her talk till he is looking at her again, are two very valuable aids
in the language development of the deaf child. In addition to always
raising her voice a little in speaking to her baby, the mother should
several times a day take him in her lap and sing to him, and talk to him
with her lips not far from his ear. Talk to him just as all mothers do
to their babies (but not with the mangled and distorted words called
"baby talk"), about the pussy, the dog, the bird, his foot, his toes,
his arms and hands and fingers; about his papa, brothers, sisters; about
the flowers, the grass, the trees, and a thousand other things. Say the
good old Mother Goose rhymes of "Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Baker's Man,"
"This little pig went to market," etc., etc. But in all your frolics and
stories and songs, take the greatest care that he shall hear or see, or
better still, _both_ see _and_ hear, what you are saying. Gradually he
can be taught to understand many simple commands and questions just as
hearing babies learn them, by constant repetition at times and under
circumstances when the meaning is obvious. Such as "come," "go," "go to
papa," "come to mamma," "jump," "stop," "kiss mother," "pet pussy,"
"pick up," "put down," "milk," "water," "bread" (the later in life that
he learns the meaning and taste of "candy" the better), "do you want
some bread?" "milk," "water," etc. "Bring my slippers," "bring my
shoes," "put on your hat," "take off your mittens," "wash your hands,"
etc., etc., throughout the whole day.

Very early the mother should learn to consider the direction from which
the light comes, and should be careful to take her position _facing_ the
main source of light which should come from _behind the child_. The eye
can be trained from the very beginning of attention to unconsciously
supplement an imperfect ear in comprehending spoken words. It is even
possible for the eye to perform the entire task of interpreting speech,
and, if the hearing is entirely lacking, the course outlined will result
in training the brain to interpret the movements of speech as seen by
the eye, as it would have been trained by the same procedure to
interpret the sounds of speech had the organ of transmission not been
injured. But the idea must be constantly in the mind of the mother that
her boy needs to _see_ the spoken word at the very moment _when the idea
that it represents is in his mind_, AS OFTEN as he would hear it if his
hearing were perfect.

This one suggestion, if faithfully lived up to from the age of one year
to that of two years, would be almost enough. But there are other things
that the mother can do as the mental development of the baby increases
with each month of life. She should encourage him to babble and gurgle
and murmur, as much as possible, to laugh and crow and make all the
various baby noises that will train and develop his voice. Encourage
noisy, romping, rollicking games as he gets older, that make him shout
and call, for they are the natural and best voice exercises.



IV

WHAT ABOUT THE BABY'S SPEECH?


The hearing baby babbles because he gets some pleasure from the sounds,
and also because he desires to imitate the sounds of speech he hears
around him. _He has his attention called constantly to sound._ The sense
of vibration is not as strong nor as instructive as that of sound, but
if _the attention_ of the child is early _called_ to it, a watchfulness
for vibration _from within himself_ as well as from without, can be
aroused, and a sensitiveness developed that would not have come as
early, if at all, without special, directive effort on the part of the
mother. She can lead her little one to oo-oo, and ee-ee, and mamma, and
bub-bub, etc., by doing these babblings herself while the baby is in her
arms and his tiny hands are wandering over her lips and face and throat.
These exercises will gradually bring a recognition on the part of the
child of the sensation of vibration that accompanies voice, and they
will give facility, coupled with the normal and natural intonations that
have been acquired when he was not conscious of any effort, that will
prepare him for a better and more fluent speech when the time comes for
more exact articulation training.

But during the first two or three years of the child's life the
principal stress should be placed upon his learning to understand what
is said to him, without bothering much about his speaking himself. In
the case of the hearing child, the understanding of language comes
before he can himself utter it. This must also be the case with the deaf
child, and the period preceding utterance must be longer, by reason of
his handicap, than in the case of a child with normal hearing.



V

DEVELOPING THE MENTAL FACULTIES


By the time he is two years old he has gained maturity and grasp enough
to play many little educational games with his mother and his little
brothers and sisters, or playmates. These games should be calculated to
develop his various faculties, his powers of observation, memory, and
concentration. To develop a faculty is really _to train the brain_. As a
matter of fact, we see and hear and taste and smell and feel with our
brains. The eye of a two-year-old child is practically as perfect an
optical instrument as the eye of a boy of ten, and yet how much more the
older boy seems to see. This is because his brain has been trained to
_interpret_ the impressions that even the baby eyes received but did not
understand. Of course, where the instrument is found to be imperfect we
can assist it by means of additional lenses, or perhaps by some one of
the skillful operations now performed by oculists, and, as the sight is
of such increased importance to a deaf child, the greatest care and
watchfulness should be given to his eyes. Do not let him sleep, or lie,
facing the sun, or any other powerful light, but throughout his life be
careful that all his use of eyesight be under conditions of ample and
well-directed light. Supposing that the simple tests referred to
heretofore have shown that the eyes, as optical instruments, are
sufficiently perfect, our efforts need to be to train the brain to take
cognizance of, and to interpret the impressions transmitted to it by the
eyes. We shall not be able to improve the working of the eye by our
efforts, but we can educate the brain.

Color and form make the earliest appeal to the child's eyes, and we can
use them for our educational play. The duplicate set of worsted balls of
the seven primal colors can be increased to include easily
distinguishable shades. The child can be sent on entertaining voyages
of discovery around the room with a ball of a certain color to find
other objects similar in color in the rugs, books, chairs, dresses,
ties, etc.

A game to develop observation of form can be made by collecting a group
of objects of varying shapes in a pile on the floor or a low table;
mother picks up some one of the objects, directs the attention of the
little one to it, and after he has observed it somewhat she puts it back
in the pile and moves all the objects about till they are well mixed up.
Ask the little fellow then to pick out the object mother held in her
hand a moment before. When he can do this by sight without difficulty,
have him shut his eyes, place an object in his little hands, teach him
to feel it over carefully, take it from him, and, while his eyes are
still closed, place it once more in the pile. Let him then open his eyes
and see if he can indicate the object he had previously held. When he
has mastered this, give the game another turn by asking him to find by
means of touch alone, while the eyes are still closed, the object that
he has been feeling, after it is restored to the pile of other objects.
Still another turn can be given by first letting him see the object,
without touching it, then having him close his eyes, and by touch alone
select it from the pile. A set of wooden forms, such as spheres, cubes,
pyramids, cones, cylinders, and similar, but truncated, forms, can be
obtained at any school supply store. To these can be added common
household objects such as small frames, vases, napkin rings, spoons,
forks, and other similar things, as well as some of the forms included
in a complete set of the Montessori material.

The Montessori weighted forms are excellent for training his muscular
recognition of difference of weight, and an excellent way is to put
various quantities of birdshot into half a dozen exactly similar little
rubber balls that can be purchased at any toy store for two cents
apiece. Then hand the boy one of the weighted balls, and after he has
felt its weight put it back with the other similar-appearing balls and
see if he can again discover it. An outfit for training his tactile
sense can be made in any home by collecting duplicate pieces of cloth
having different textures; such as velvet, rough woolen tweeds or
homespun, silk, satin, cambric, muslin, etc., and pasting one set on
cards. Also by stretching on a wooden frame, strings of varying sizes,
weaves, and twists, and having a bunch of duplicates from which he can
select, by sight and touch alone, the pieces that correspond, each to
each, with those on the frame or on the cards. If there is a guitar, or
mandolin, or zither, or a piano, available, perhaps, by and by, the
mother can teach the child to recognize the difference in the vibratory
sensation perceived by his fingers touching the body of the instrument
when a low note and a high note are struck alternately. She can make a
game of this, too, by later having him close his eyes and place his
fingers in contact with the instrument and then tell her _approximately_
what string or key she struck. The next step, if she can take it, is to
place his little hands upon her chest to feel the lowest notes of her
voice, and upon both the chest and the top of her head to feel the
highest, and endeavoring to get him to recognize the similarity in
vibratory sensation between what he now feels and what he previously
felt on the musical instruments. The last step in this series of
exercises to awaken a recognition of vibratory sensations is to lead him
to feel in his own chest and head the vibrations set up by his own voice
in shouting and laughing, crying or babbling.

These hints that are so quickly and easily given, require weeks and
months of patient, _happy_ effort to carry out. Beware that no one of
them is repeated or continued so long at a time as to become a thing
dreaded and disliked. Remember that the attention of a little child is
like a constantly flitting butterfly that rests for only a moment or two
on anything before dancing away to something else.

There are many little games with kindergarten materials that can be
used to develop the powers of attention, observation, imitation, and
obedience. The laying in simple designs, by watchful imitation of the
mother, of colored sticks, colored squares, etc.; the building with
colored blocks; stringing of _large_ beads; weaving with _wide_ strips
of colored paper simple designs that a mother could invent with the
material at hand or could learn from any kindergarten manual. The point
that must be firmly, but _pleasantly_, insisted upon in these exercises
is careful and obedient following by the child of the exact order of
movement and manner of placing adopted by the mother teacher. The entire
value of these exercises for the purpose she wishes to accomplish
depends upon _accurate observation_ by the child and _implicit
obedience_.

The material outfit prepared and sold by the American exploiters of the
Montessori method is admirably adapted to the development of the budding
faculties of the child, and the mother who is trying to do all in her
power to prepare her little one to benefit to the greatest possible
extent from the professional instruction that must come later, will make
no mistake in supplying herself with the set of materials, and making
herself intelligent on their use by the child.



VI

DEVELOPING THE LUNGS


The tendency of the deaf child is to grow up with less development of
lungs and of the imagination than hearing children. In order to overcome
this tendency the child must be encouraged and _taught_ to play games
and use toys that will exercise the lungs and develop the power of
imaginative thought.

In order to expand and strengthen the lungs through the child's play,
supply him with the brightly colored paper wind-mills that he can set
whirling by blowing lustily; also the rubber balloon toys, even though
the torturing squeak of the toys is only heard by those in the vicinity
and not by himself. An especially good exercise for the gentle and
long-continued control of breath results from the toy blow pipes with
conical wire bowls by means of which light, celluloid balls of bright
colors are kept suspended in the air, dancing on the column of breath
blown softly through the tube. The more steadily the child blows, the
more mysteriously the ball remains at a fixed point, whirling rapidly
but without any apparent support.

Blowing soap bubbles, especially trying to blow big ones, is very useful
as well as interesting.

For physical development in which the lungs come in for their share and
the sense of mechanical rhythm is fostered, an excellent exercise is
marching in step to the stroke of the drum, proud in Boy Scout uniform.
Dancing is a very desirable accomplishment for the deaf child.

Tops and tenpins cultivate dexterity, as do playing ball and rolling
hoop.



VII

THE CULTIVATION OF CREATIVE IMAGINATION


This can be greatly helped by early use on the part of the child of
colored modeling wax to reproduce objects and animals, and to construct
models of imaginary houses, yards, trees, etc. A sand pile, or a large,
shallow sand box, perhaps five feet square, with sides six inches high,
and completely lined with enamel cloth to make it watertight, is a
wonderful implement for constructive play on the part of the child.
Whole villages of farms, fields, and forests, ponds and brooks, roads
and railroads, can be made here in miniature.

Building blocks of wood or stone; the metal construction toy called
"Mechano"; dolls, doll houses, furniture, and equipment, are valuable,
but they should be simple, inexpensive and not fragile.

Cut-up picture puzzles, painting books, tracing slates with large and
simple designs cultivate observation and ingenuity. Kaleidoscopes and
stereoscopes are excellent, but moving pictures are so trying upon the
eyes, and the air of the theaters is so bad, that a deaf child whose
eyes are his only salvation, and whose health is doubly important,
should not even know of their existence till he is seven or eight years
old.



VIII

FURTHER TESTS OF HEARING


But, as soon as the mother finds her little child sufficiently mature to
benefit by the sense training described above, whether it be at twenty
or, as is more likely, at from twenty-four to thirty months, she can
begin to make a more complete and accurate determination of the degree
of his deafness, for now she can establish a system of responses on the
part of the child that will show her when he perceives the sounds she
uses in her tests.

In order to be certain that the little one knows what she wishes of him,
she must begin with some sensation that she is sure he feels. We will
assume that he has as yet no speech, and cannot count, at least does not
know the names of the numbers. Let the mother pat him once on the
shoulder and then cause him to hold up one of his little fingers. Then
pat him twice, and make him hold up two fingers, then three times and
have him put up three fingers. Now return to one pat and one finger,
repeat two pats and the holding up of two of his fingers, and three pats
and three fingers. Go over and over this little game until he has
grasped the idea and will hold up as many fingers as he feels pats.
Simple as the idea seems, it will often take a bright child some time to
realize what you want him to do. But you are _sure_ that he feels the
pats, whereas, if you began at once with sounds, you could not know
whether his failure to respond was because he did not hear, or through
not understanding what you expected of him. He will weary of the
exercise soon, and then mother may as well turn to something else till
he has rested.

Having established this system of response on his part to sensations
perceived, it is not difficult to shift from the number of pats to the
number of times he hears a noise. This once accomplished, tests can be
made with sounds of different kinds, different pitch, and different
volume, varying the distance, the instruments, and the vowel when the
articulate sounds are reached. He can be shown a whistle, then, when it
is blown behind his back, he will hold up as many fingers as the times
it was blown, if he perceives the sound. He can be asked to distinguish
between a whistle, a little bell, and the clapping of the hands. When he
is successful in that, the vowel sounds may be uttered not far from his
ear, but behind him. Begin with "ah" (ä), as this is the most open and
strongest; then try "oh" (o with macron), which is not easily confused
with ä. Then ee (e with macron). If, after a time, a distance and a
degree of loudness are found that enable him to recognize these sounds
with unfailing accuracy, or at least 90 per cent. of the time, then
other sounds can be added, such as aw (a with diaresis below), (a with
breve) (as in hat), (i with macron) (as in ice), oo (as in cool), ow (as
in owl). Using these sounds at different pitches, and with different
intensities and distances, a sufficiently accurate estimate can be
formed of the degree of his hearing power so far as his present needs
are concerned.



IX

THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESIDUAL HEARING


If any ability to perceive sounds is found, every effort should be made
to lead the child to use it, and as the most essential use of hearing is
in the comprehension of spoken language, the principal effort should be
made along that line.

Take three objects, the names of which are short, with the principal
vowels quite easily distinguished. A little toy street car, a cap, and a
toy sheep, would do nicely to begin with, as the three words, "car,"
"cap," and "sheep," are not easily confused. Place two of the objects
before him, the car and the sheep, and speak the name of one of them,
"car," we will say, loudly and distinctly close to his ear, but in such
a way that he cannot see your mouth. Then show him the car. Repeat it
with "sheep" and show him the sheep. Repeat "car," and take his little
hand, put it on the car. Then "sheep," and make him put his hand on the
sheep. Continue this process until he will indicate to you the object
you name. When he makes only occasional mistakes with two objects, add
the cap. When he can get the right one about 90 per cent. of the time,
then take three new words, returning occasionally to the first three.
Very soon his own name and those of others, with photographs to enable
him to indicate which, will prove of interest to him. When he has
successfully learned to distinguish a few single words, a beginning can
be made on short sentences. Commands that he can execute are convenient.
"Shut your eyes," "Open your mouth," "Clap your hands," can follow drill
on the three words, "eyes," "mouth," "hands." "Open the window," "Shut
the window," "Open the book," "Shut the book," "Open the door," etc.
"Stand up," "Sit down." When this beginning has been made, the road is
open to the gradual increase in a hearing vocabulary, but do not
attempt so much at once as to confuse and discourage the child.

The suggestions already made should be studiously followed throughout
his whole childhood. If his hearing is not too seriously impaired, he
will begin to attempt to imitate spoken sounds by the time he is
twenty-four to thirty months old. But his ability to imitate sounds is
not an accurate measure of his ability to hear. He may perceive the
sounds much better than he is able to reproduce them. Distinct utterance
comes slowly to the child with normal hearing, and still more slowly and
imperfectly to the child whose hearing is not good. But the continued
effort to make him hear _words and sentences_ is a very valuable
exercise for him and should be faithfully continued till he is old
enough to respond to the tests of hearing as outlined and it has been
definitely proved that he cannot possibly tell whether ä, or (o with
macron) or (e with macron) is said, no matter how loud or how near the
ear the sound is uttered.

The question will naturally arise as to whether the child's hearing of
speech can be aided by an electric or mechanical device. When it is
possible to make the child perceive the sound of the vowels with the
unaided voice uttered very near the ear, I believe it to be better, at
first, not to interpose any artificial device. But I have found that
sometimes, in cases where the sound perception was not at first
sufficient to enable the child to distinguish even the most dissimilar
vowel sounds, although uttered loudly close to the ear, I could awaken
the attention of the child to sound, and stimulate the dormant power by
the use of an Acousticon. After a few months I have been able to
dispense with the instrument and use only the unaided voice at close
range. Later, when some vocabulary has been acquired through these
auricular exercises, it is often desirable to return to the Acousticon
and teach the child to use it, in _order to extend the distance at which
sounds can be heard_. By the use of the Acousticon, it then becomes
possible to communicate by means of the ear without speaking at such
short range. It is not easy, however, to induce a child to use an
Acousticon at all times, whereas an adult will take the time and trouble
necessary to become accustomed to the instrument, and will put up with
the slight inconveniences inseparable from its use.



X

DEVELOPING THE POWER OF LIP READING


In this effort to develop the hearing, however, the necessity must not
be forgotten of also training the brain to associate ideas with what the
eye sees on the lips when words are spoken. In the case of the very
slightly deaf child, this visual training is not quite so important as
the auricular training, but when there is much deafness it is the more
important of the two. The comprehension of much language can be given to
the little deaf child by constantly talking just as any mother does to
her hearing baby, only being always careful to take a position facing
the main source of light, which should come _from behind the child_.

The hearing child arrives at the association of meaning with the sounds
of words only after very many repetitions. How often must the child hear
"Mamma," "Look at mamma," "See, here is mamma," "Mamma is coming,"
"Mamma is here," "Where is mamma?" "Do you love mamma?" "Mamma loves
baby," etc., etc., from morning to night, day after day, week after
week. The mother does it for pleasure; to play with and pet the dear
baby. She does not think of it as a teaching exercise, but it is a very
important one. The deaf baby will learn gradually to associate a meaning
with the various sequences of movement of the lips, if a little care is
taken to watch his eyes and to speak when they are directed toward the
speaker, and to stand in such relation to the light that it falls upon
the speaker's face. The speech should be the same as to the hearing
child, but it takes a little more care and watchfulness to have the deaf
child _see_ the same word or phrase as _many times_ as the hearing child
hears it. If it is spoken when the baby is not looking, it does not
help.

When the little one is learning to walk, the mother says, "Come to
mamma," "Go to daddy," and gradually he learns "come" and "go." She has
him play hide and seek with another child, and she says, "Where is Tom?"
"Where is the baby's mouth?" "Where is the baby's nose?" etc., and by
and by he knows "where" and "mouth" and "nose," and the names of his
playmates or brothers and sisters. When he is sitting on the floor she
picks him up, saying "up." When she puts him from her lap to the floor
she says "down." If he is naughty she says "naughty," and perhaps spats
his little hands, and so on through the day. A little care on her part,
a little added thought and watchfulness, perhaps a few more repetitions,
and little by little she will find her deaf baby learning to look at her
always, and to understand much that is said to him. She must all this
time remember, also, that the shades of feeling, pleasure,
disappointment, approval, disapproval, doubt, certainty, love, anger,
joy, which are largely conveyed to the hearing child by intonation of
voice, must be conveyed to the deaf baby by facial expression and
manner. They become very keen at interpreting moods by the look. Let
the face be sunny and kind and INTERESTED, if possible. The first
indication of impatience, of being bored and weary, will destroy much of
one's influence with the deaf child.

Sometimes it is harder to disguise one's feelings in the face than in
the voice. Do not be caught unawares. Interest, cheerfulness, and
patience are tremendous forces to help the little deaf child.

Some one has said:


     "When you consent, consent cordially;
     When you refuse, refuse finally;
     When you punish, punish good-naturedly."



XI

FORMING CHARACTER


And now that the little one is two or three years old, it may be well to
say a few words about his general training in character and habits.
There is a strong, and a not unnatural tendency to maintain an attitude
toward the deaf child that differs from that maintained by sensible
mothers toward their other children. They often set up a different
standard of conduct and of obligation for the afflicted child. His
brothers and sisters are taught to always defer to his wishes; even to
the extent of yielding to improper and selfish demands on his part, and
conceding that they have no rights where he is concerned. He is not
required to perform the little duties demanded of the other children. He
is given privileges which the others do not, and which no one of them,
including himself, should enjoy. He grows tyrannical, domineering, and
selfish. The mother says: "Poor little chap; he has trouble enough, we
must do all in our power to make up to him for what he misses by reason
of his deafness." This is, however, a shortsighted, and really a cruel
policy. It lays up much misery for his future, and in the end proves a
serious handicap to one who needs to have as few additional difficulties
as possible. Though it may seem hard-hearted, it is really kinder to put
him on the same basis as any other child. Make him do everything
possible for himself. Insist upon his being independent; dressing
himself as soon as he is able, buttoning his own shoes, and performing
all the little self-help acts that the wise mother demands of all her
children. Make no distinction in the treatment accorded him. Ask the
same services, reward right actions and punish wrongdoing as impartially
as if he was not deaf, only being sure that he clearly connects the
punishment with the wrong act. This, in the case of a deaf child,
requires a little more care than with a hearing child. Train him to be
thoughtful for the comfort of others, and respectful of their rights,
just as you insist that the others observe his rights. He cannot be
argued with, object lessons and example must be the means of teaching
him manners and morals.



XII

CULTIVATING THE SOCIAL INSTINCT


Between the ages of two and four years all the games and exercises
heretofore described can continue to be used, together with others
increasingly difficult and complicated, as the child's mind develops and
his powers of observation, attention, and memory increase. Take very
special care that he learns all the childhood games that other children
know and enjoy. Devote yourself more to him in this respect than you
would in the case of another child. Encourage the neighbors' children to
come and play with him by making it especially pleasant for them. Teach
them yourself to play "Hide the Thimble," "Hide and Seek," "Drop the
Handkerchief," "Going to Jerusalem," "Old Maid," "Bean Bag." Follow the
Leader is an excellent game by which to teach watchfulness and
imitation. Cat and Mouse, Hot Potato, Ring on a String, are all games
that can be played by groups and cultivate quickness. Ping Pong Football
is excellent as a lung developer. That is the choosing of sides and
trying to blow a ping pong ball between the goal posts formed by a pair
of salt shakers at opposite ends of a table. Or blowing a feather across
a sheet by opposing sides. Encourage good, romping, noisy games in which
the children naturally laugh and shout. They are the best of
voice-developing exercises, and by such means, and his long-distance
shouting and calling to his playmates, the little hearing child gains
much of his lung and voice power. In all his games, as in all his other
activities, take very _special_ pains to talk to him, using the
regulation expressions and training him to watch for the "It's your
turn," or "Now, Tom," "Ready," "Whose turn is it?" etc., etc.

If the foregoing suggestions have been carefully carried out since he
was twelve months old, he will long ago have arrived unconsciously at
the knowledge that all things, and all actions, and all feelings, have
names, and that the mouth always makes the same sequence of movements
for the same thing. In the babbling exercises recommended, he will
gradually come to utter many of the vowel and consonant sounds of his
native language; especially those that are made by the lips, and by
evident positions of the tongue. Those sounds that require hidden
positions of the organs, such as the sound of C and K in cat and ark, or
G in go and dog, or ng in long, he is unlikely to have stumbled upon.
These can be taught when the proper time comes, but their absence for
the present need cause no anxiety. In fact, up to the time when he is
three and a half or four years old, the matter of speaking is not one to
be much troubled about. If the conception of language has been given him
through lip-reading, and some ability to understand the necessary
language of his daily life, his future success is assured.



XIII

SOMETHING ABOUT SCHOOLS AND METHODS


Till the child is at least four years old, the proper place for him is
at home, and if he must be sent to one of the large public schools for
the deaf it should not be till he is five or even six years of age.

But during these years the mother can gain much knowledge that will help
her by visiting as many schools for the deaf as possible. There are
about a hundred and fifty such schools in the United States and eight in
Canada. They vary in size, in character, and in methods of instruction
employed. There are public boarding schools, and public day schools,
free to the resident of the state, or city, in which they are located.
There are private boarding and day schools, maintained by charity, or by
the tuition fees. Some of each class are oral schools; that is, they
employ only speech methods of instruction, without any signs or finger
spelling. Others are called "Combined" schools; that is, they permit,
and in some exercises encourage, the use of finger spelling and gestural
signs, while they also give some instruction by the speech method. There
are sectarian and non-sectarian schools, both oral and combined.

A very considerable number of schools for the deaf in the United States
and Canada still use manual, or silent, methods of instruction, at least
in part. But the speech, or oral, method is steadily growing in
popularity, and gradually supplanting manual spelling and gestural
signs. The time will certainly come when the public will be too
intelligent to any longer tolerate the use between teacher and pupil, or
between any employee and the pupils, in a school for the deaf, any
system of manual communication.

_Every deaf child, no matter if born totally deaf and of a low order of
intelligence, can be given as much education by the exclusive use of the
speech method as it can by any manual, or silent, method or by a
combination of the speech and the silent method._ This is not the mere
expression of an opinion, but the statement of a fact; a fact firmly
established by actual results in state institutions where,
unfortunately, the law requires the admission of pupils too poorly
equipped intellectually to belong in a school with normally bright
children. In addition to acquiring all the education of which his mental
endowment makes him capable, he can be taught to speak and to understand
when spoken to. The degree of perfection attainable depends upon the
ability of the child, the skill of the teaching, and especially upon
_the environment_ in which the child passes its formative educational
years. The probability of the child's acquiring a maximum proficiency in
speaking and in understanding others when they speak, is lessened in
direct proportion to the extent to which he is permitted to use the
silent or manual means of communication. In the so-called "combined"
schools, the _environment_ is largely manual. A visit to the
playgrounds, the baseball fields, the shops, dining rooms, and
dormitories of "combined" schools will disclose the pupils using silent
means of communication, not only between themselves, _but with those in
charge of them. They do not think in spoken forms, but in finger
spelling and signs_. The powerful influence of environment in those
schools is _against_ the acquisition of the speech and lip-reading
habit.

The mother who has faithfully followed the suggestions offered in the
foregoing pages will be able to appreciate what she sees on visiting the
schools, and will gain much more from such visits than one who is
entirely inexperienced in the problem. Every mother should make it her
business to visit at least one _purely oral_ school, in order that she
may make herself thoroughly intelligent on what may be expected of a
deaf child.

Unfortunately, pure oral schools are not as plentiful as "combined"
schools, but it will well repay any parent to make a journey, even
across the continent, if necessary, in order to study the workings of
some good, purely oral, school. Do not be satisfied with a visit to the
nearest "combined" school.

_You owe it to your child_ to make yourself thoroughly intelligent as to
the _possibilities_ open to a deaf child. You will not be intelligent
till you have personally visited some good _purely oral_ school.

The number, character, location, etc., of the schools are constantly
changing. A descriptive list of all schools corrected to date will be
gladly supplied by the author to any one requesting it.



XIV

THE PRESERVATION OF SPEECH

WHEN DEAFNESS RESULTS FROM ACCIDENT OR ILLNESS AFTER INFANCY


Up to this point it has been assumed that deafness occurred before the
age of two years, and before the child had begun to speak. In cases
where, through accident or illness, impairment of hearing has come after
the child has begun to talk, the mother should bend all her efforts upon
keeping the speech of her child. The younger the child, the more
difficult is the task. Without the greatest vigilance and increasing
attention, the speech of a little child who has become deaf will fade
rapidly away, until it is lost entirely, and must be artificially
recreated when he is old enough to grasp the complicated ideas involved
in speech teaching to the deaf. But by persistently encouraging him to
talk, and never, even for a day, allowing him to lapse into silence, and
_by not accepting careless and faulty utterance, but pretending not to
understand till the child speaks distinctly and correctly_, the natural
speech, which was his before deafness occurred, can be preserved, and
the speech habit thoroughly fixed. If, by good luck, the little one has
learned to read even a simple primer before becoming deaf, it will be
much easier to prevent a loss of speech. For this reading can be made an
excuse for frequently using his speech. But when the child cannot read,
the mother must depend entirely upon inducing him to talk to her,
refusing to give him anything, or grant his request, till he asks for it
in good spoken form; showing him pictures, playing games, frolicking
with him; doing everything that a mother's love and ingenuity can
suggest, to keep him talking all day long.

The tendency of the child will be to drop, or slur, the final syllables
of the words; to leave off the sound of final _ed_; to lose the
sharpness of the _s_; to blur the _l_; and sometimes to lose the sound
of _k_ and _c_. But, if he has learned to read, by pointing to these
letters in the words he has spoken imperfectly, he will correct his own
mistake. Prompt and increasing attention to the little fellow's speech
during the first year after deafness occurs will usually serve to fix
correct habits for life.



XV

TEACHING LIP READING


All that has been said about training the little deaf child to read the
lip movements and associate them with the names of things and of
actions, will apply also to the little boy who has suddenly been made
deaf, after speech has been learned. Be careful that he is looking at
you always when you speak to him or reply to some question he has asked,
but speak just as you would have done before he became deaf. You may
have to repeat things to him very often at first, but do not permit any
sign of impatience in your face. Do not let him get the idea that it is
a hardship to talk to him. Remember that you are changing his manner of
understanding speech over to another way, and that his present and
future happiness depends very greatly on the thoroughness and promptness
with which it is done. In all dealings with a deaf child the mother
should remember that the child draws his impressions of the character
and the feelings of those about him from the expression of their faces,
and many almost unconscious little acts and gestures. Avoid very
carefully any appearance of being impatient, or bored, or contemptuous
at his failures. Try to understand the difficulties under which he is
working to maintain his place in the world. Do not humor his whims, or
spoil him by indulgence, yet treat him with the greatest consideration
and fairness. Above all, be cheerful and, at least apparently,
interested in his doings and sayings.



XVI

SCHOOL AGE


The question of what is "school age" for a deaf child is answered very
differently by different people. Most of the state institutions for the
deaf in the United States, Canada, and Europe will not admit children
younger than six years of age. Seven years is still the age of admission
in some institutions, but the tendency is to lower the age limit. In
some schools children of five are admitted, in a few those as young as
four, and in two or three small schools babies of two and three are
received. Any statement here must, therefore, be taken as only the
expression of the author's opinion, resulting from more than twenty-five
years of active teaching, combined with wide observation.

It would appear that, where home conditions are not bad, either
physically or morally, the proper place for the little deaf child till
he is nearly, or quite, five, is with his mother. Very much can be done
for the little one before he is five to prepare him for the instruction
which should be given at that age, but it is possible for the mother to
do what is necessary, and even the simplest home conditions are
preferable for very little children to the institutional environment. It
is impossible, in a school of from one hundred to five hundred pupils,
to create a real home environment, such as the very little child should
have. It is really a pity that the child of five should have to be
placed in the institutional environment as it at present exists. If the
legislative bodies of our states, and the gentlemen who manage the
schools, could only be induced to adopt the cottage plan of housing in
small units, the disadvantages of institutional life would be enormously
reduced.



XVII

ORGANIZED EFFORTS BY PARENTS TO OBTAIN BETTER EDUCATIONAL CONDITIONS


It should be possible for every taxpayer in every state who has a deaf
child and who has not the means or the wish to place that child in a
private school, to have the child educated in a free public school as
completely by the speech method as his hearing children are educated by
that method. He should not be compelled to send his child out of the
state or else subject him to the influence of signs and finger spelling,
with the probability that he will leave school a deaf mute.
Unfortunately, in many states, this is not possible at present. But if
the parents of deaf children would organize themselves into "Parents'
Associations" and send representatives to the governors and legislative
committees; and arrange for demonstrations by orally educated deaf
children from pure oral schools; and carry on an active campaign of
enlightenment and of agitation, the present state of affairs would soon
cease to exist.

I wish to make an urgent plea for the energetic efforts of all parents
of deaf children to improve the speech-teaching conditions in their
respective localities. At present, very far from all that is possible is
being done to give deaf children a ready command of spoken English, and
a working ability to understand when spoken to. The persons who have the
most at stake in this matter, and who should be most active and
persistent in demanding from the school authorities and legislatures
better facilities for the acquisition of speech by deaf children, are
the parents of those children. In each locality these parents should
organize into "Parents' Associations." These local associations should,
in turn, be connected by a statewide organization composed of
representatives from each local association. These state organizations
could then be combined by representation in a national organization of
all the parents of deaf children in the United States. Such complete
organization once effected, the reasonable demands made in the interests
of better results in speech teaching would quickly be complied with by
the respective schools and the legislatures or boards of directors that
control them. The associations could induce their local papers to aid in
a campaign to educate public opinion by printing facts concerning what
is done elsewhere. If all parents of deaf children only knew what might
be accomplished, and were so organized as to permit them to present
their wishes forcibly to those able to change conditions, the deaf child
would quickly come into his own.



XVIII

A PERSONAL MATTER FOR EACH PARENT


Let some parent in each locality make it his or her business to get the
names and addresses of all other parents of deaf children in the
vicinity. Induce them to come together some evening and choose a
chairman and an executive committee of three. Let these four people make
a point of studying the education of the deaf as conducted in the most
advanced communities. Let the executive committees of the several local
associations get together once or twice a year for a sort of state
convention of parents. Let them invite leading educators to address
them, and let them appoint committees to visit schools in other states
where different methods are employed. If such a movement was once
started there would be found plenty of subject-matter for discussion,
and plenty of opportunities to work for a betterment of conditions. The
author of this little book would be glad to give any aid in his power to
such a movement, and to place the results of his twenty-five years of
experience at the disposal of any parent, or parents' organization.

The first efforts should be directed to inducing, or compelling, the
so-called "Combined Schools" for the deaf throughout the United States
to wholly segregate at least a small oral department from the manually
taught pupils. The orally taught pupils should never come in contact
during their school life, either in the shops, dining rooms,
playgrounds, or schoolrooms, with those pupils with whom finger spelling
and signs are employed. All employees, whether superintendents,
teachers, supervisors, teachers of trades, or servants, who have to do
with the orally taught pupils should be _compelled_ to use only speech
and lip reading (and writing, if absolutely necessary) under penalty of
dismissal for failing to do so. Only by means of such segregation, and
the enforcement of speech as a universal medium of communication, can
the appropriations for oral work be made really productive of good
results in what are now called "Combined Schools." This can be done on a
small scale at the beginning, with the little entering beginners. Then
if all beginners are put into this oral department it will gradually
grow at the expense of the manual department, until, after a period of
eight or ten years, the entire school will have become oral.

This is the only method of procedure by which satisfactory results in
speech teaching for practical purposes can be obtained in return for the
generous appropriations that the states make. It has been fully
demonstrated by actual operation in the state of Pennsylvania, where the
largest school for the deaf in the world has in this manner been changed
from a "Combined School" to a pure oral school.

_All_ the deaf children in the State of Massachusetts are now taught
wholly by the oral method. If that polyglot and heterogeneous
population can be so treated, there is no state in the Union where the
same could not be done if there were the desire and the ambition to do
it.

In many states deaf children have been, either by definite statement, or
by tacit understanding, exempted from the enforcement of the compulsory
education law. This is all wrong. They need the protection of that
excellent law even more than the hearing child, and if the law for
compulsory education does not, in fact, apply to them, it should at once
be amended to do so.



XIX

DAY SCHOOLS


The parents are the ones most interested in this matter, and it is
through their efforts alone that improvement can be brought about. In
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois,
Ohio, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Missouri, and California, free public
oral day schools have been established. This movement has reached its
highest development in Wisconsin and Michigan. In Wisconsin there are
twenty-four such schools scattered throughout the state, and in Michigan
fourteen. New schools are opened by the Board of Education under
prescribed conditions upon the request of a certain number of parents of
deaf children. Such a law should be on the statute books of every state,
and will be when the parents of deaf children organize and demand it.



XX

THE DEAF CHILD AT FIVE YEARS OF AGE


When the little child that has been deaf from infancy is five years of
age, he should be placed in a _purely oral school_ for the deaf, if such
a thing is possible.

The child who has become deaf by illness or accident after speech has
been acquired, should be placed under experienced instruction by the
speech method _at once_.

To quote once more from my little book of suggestions to physicians:

"If the proper school for the little hearing child of five did not
happen to exist in his immediate neighborhood, no one would think of
insisting upon the necessity of sending the little one away to a distant
boarding school. But that is what must be done in the case of the little
deaf child, if precious and irrecoverable years are not to be lost. It
is often a difficult matter to persuade a mother to sacrifice her own
personal happiness and comfort in having the little child with her, and
to look far enough into the future to see that a true and unselfish love
for the child requires her to entrust him to the care of others during
those early and crucial years."



XXI

SCHOOLS FOR THE HEARING AND PRIVATE GOVERNESSES


If no oral day or boarding school is available near at hand, the mother
should have the far-sighted love that is unselfish, and the courage to
part with her little five-year-old child during the months of the school
year, and place him in some one of the distant schools where he can live
and be taught in a purely oral environment. There are two alternatives
to this, each of which is sometimes attempted, but both are undesirable.
First the mother not infrequently attempts to have her child educated in
the schools for hearing children. This is very unsatisfactory and even
dangerous, for if persisted in it results in wholly inadequate progress,
uneven development, bad speech, irretrievable loss of time, and often in
a complete nervous breakdown. This may not come for some years, but the
nervous system, once undermined by the excessive strain of trying to
keep up under impossible conditions, can never be fully repaired. Here
is what a _partially_ deaf woman writes of her experience as a child:

"When I was three and one-half years old scarlet fever left me almost
totally deaf. My father was a physician. He was urged to send me to a
school for the deaf, but his medical training told him that what was
needed was association with speaking children, if I were to retain my
speech, for at that time the oral method was unknown in our state. So I
went to school with hearing children. Unless you have been deaf, you
will not understand the misery in this statement. A little, lonely deaf
child, I went to a public school, hearing practically nothing of the
teachers' instructions or the pupils' recitations. Of the torture of
that deaf childhood I will not speak. You all know how cruel children
may be, and a deaf child among hearing children often suffers untold
torments."

The second alternative is to seek some person who will teach the child
in his own home. This, too, is very unsatisfactory, and involves loss of
time and opportunity that can never be recovered.

In the first place, the beginning years of a deaf child's educational
life are the most important of all. They are crucial. It is then he
requires the highest skill, the greatest experience, and the most
perfect conditions. The best teachers can seldom, if ever, be induced to
teach a single child in its home. Usually these teachers are more or
less inferior. But even the best teacher in the world cannot do for a
little deaf child in his home what she could accomplish for him in a
well-organized and properly conducted school.

Neither the intellect nor the character of the deaf child can be as
successfully developed, after five years of age, by a private teacher in
his home as in a good school.

The following elements are essential for the highest educational welfare
of a deaf child:

_First._ The stimulus and incentive of association and competitive
companionship.

_Second._ The contact with more than one mind and more than one speaker.

_Third._ The avoidance of becoming dependent upon some one as an
interpreter, and the cultivation of independence and self-reliance
through constant practice with various teachers.

_Fourth._ A fully equipped and trained organization, providing a
complete and uninterrupted education under one head.

_Fifth._ Regularity of life, and the subordination of all living
conditions to the highest educational advantage (a thing utterly
incompatible with home conditions).

These most necessary conditions are not possible of attainment through
private instruction in the home. The child who is kept at home and given
private instruction too often grows up to be timid, self-distrustful,
and unfitted to cope with the difficulties and oppositions of the
world. He falls an easy prey to temptation and is quickly discouraged by
obstacles. Very often he is selfish, narrow, and overbearing. Not having
those about him of his own age and with the same desires, he has become
accustomed to having people yield to his whims and fancies as child
playmates would not yield. He is more or less excluded from the plays
and pleasures of childhood. All those about him have an advantage over
him.

On the other hand, the tendencies of the school-bred child are to be
simple, natural, and childlike. His inclination to moodiness and
suspiciousness is much less. He is happier. He becomes self-reliant,
independent, and respectful of the rights of others. He is less petulant
and more obedient. The wisest parents do not educate their hearing
children at home, nor should they attempt it with a deaf child.



XXII

IMPORTANCE OF THE BEGINNING


I wish to lay very special stress upon the necessity _at the beginning_
of the most expert and experienced instruction that is attainable. If
circumstances make it impossible to give to the child the best _all_ the
time, then he should have the best at the start rather than later. Every
effort and every sacrifice that are ever going to be made for the
child's sake should be at the beginning of his school training, and not
delayed till he is older. The years from five to eight or ten will
determine his future success. If he has poor teaching during these early
years, even the best teaching later will not be able to make up the loss
entirely. But if he has good teaching during the first few years, then
less expert teaching later cannot do him as much harm as it otherwise
would. The early years are his most crucial period, and the best efforts
should be expended then instead of when he is twelve or fourteen.



XXIII

AVOID THE YOUNG AND INEXPERIENCED TEACHER


Between the ages of five and ten avoid the young and inexperienced
teacher and the amateur as you would the plague. Unfortunately, the idea
is prevalent that _any one_ can teach a little child, but that it takes
experience to teach the older pupils. This is a disastrous fallacy.
Young and inexperienced women are too often quite ready to assume the
great responsibility of teaching a little deaf child. They rush in where
angels might well fear to tread. Unfortunately, parents, and even school
superintendents, are often too ready to permit them to do this dangerous
thing.



XXIV

ON ENTERING SCHOOL


Through the courtesy of the _Volta Review_, in which her article
appeared, and of the author, Miss Eleanor B. Worcester, a teacher of the
deaf for many years, and at one time the principal of a school, I am
able to include the following very sensible and valuable advice for the
guidance of mothers when their children enter school.


THE FIRST YEAR AT SCHOOL

BY ELEANOR B. WORCESTER


At last the time has come when you feel that it is best for your boy to
study with other children. And since your own town does not offer him a
suitable opportunity, it is necessary to send the little fellow to one
of the well-known boarding schools, where trained and wise men and women
are devoting their thought and energy to giving every advantage of
education, comfort, and happiness to the little people under their care.

You have already decided, after much thought and the writing of many
letters--perhaps after a visit to the school you incline to most--just
where it is best that the child shall go.

You have studied carefully all the directions about clothing given in
the school catalogue, and have made sure that every little blouse or
stocking has its owner's name written or sewed fast on it, and that all
the small garments are in perfect order and ready for use.

But have you thought how your own attitude toward this change in your
boy's life is unconsciously preparing him either to rebel against and
fear school, or to look forward to going there as one of the most
delightful and interesting events of his life?

I know that it is impossible for you to avoid dreading the day when your
child must go among strangers, but I beg you not to let him see what
your feeling is. It will take all your resolution and all your courage
to wear not only a cheerful face, but a happy one; but you must make
your boy feel that a very delightful time is coming.

If you go about the necessary preparations as you might if he were going
to the show or on a visit, he will enter into the spirit of things with
enthusiasm; but if you once let him find you crying over his packing he
will immediately jump to the conclusion that some dreadful thing is in
prospect, and will be entirely prepared to be frightened at being left
at school, and to break your heart by clinging to you and begging to go
home again. And, more than this, he will be far more likely to be
homesick.

So, since you know it is best for him to be in school, and that it is
the only possible road to happiness and usefulness, why not lead him to
anticipate the going; to look forward to it as a treat, and to feel that
to be a schoolboy is really the great end of existence?

One of the first steps in this direction will be to help him understand
a little what kind of a place he is bound for.

Very likely the school you have decided on publishes an illustrated
catalogue, and weeks before school opens begin to show him the pictures
of the school buildings and grounds, and make him understand that on a
certain day in September, which you mark on the calendar with bright
crayon, you and he will go there. Let him see one of the little white
beds where he will sleep after you return home, the sunny dining room
where he will eat his morning porridge and his Sunday ice cream; the
playground full of rollicksome youngsters, with whom he will seesaw and
play tag by and by, and the busy schoolroom, where so many delightful
and interesting things are sure to happen.

Talk about all these things often and brightly and you will find that
school has become a most desirable and fascinating place, and that every
night there will be a great satisfaction in climbing on a chair to
scratch off from the calendar another day done before the joy of going
there.

Then you can buy such delightful things to be put into that waiting
trunk--things often to be looked at, but never to be used till that
wonderful place is reached--long red and blue pencils, with rubbers on
the ends; boxes of writing paper, all gay with pictures and exactly
right for the first letters home; a foot rule, and, if you are a truly
brave mother, a real jackknife to sharpen the same red and blue pencils
and add to the joy of living.

It is absorbing work, too, to mark them all with one's name, so they may
never be mistaken for any other little boy's property, and to make a
place for a new toy or two, though if you are wise you will not buy many
playthings now, but will save them to send later, one by one, by parcel
post, to be received with a joy it is a pity you cannot be there to
see, it will be so out of proportion to any other pleasure you could
give by such simple means.

Of course, you must have some kodak pictures taken--ever so many of
them--showing the family, the house, and the pets, as well as the boy
himself. These are to be kept, too, to go in letters. They will be not
only very precious possessions, but if they are labeled carefully they
will be extremely useful in the classroom when your boy begins to learn
to speak the names of the people at home.

Since they are to be used for this double purpose, be sure that each
member of the family group is very distinctly marked, or the names of
Aunt Mary and sister Helen may get hopelessly mixed in the boy's mind!

Finally, the last little garment and the last package is in the trunk,
the last day is scratched off the calendar, and the boy himself is on
the train. And now let me tell you something that you will not
believe--that you will even resent, but which is perfectly true, and
which I hope will comfort you a little when you say good-by to the
boy--and that is this: it really is very unusual for a little child from
five to eight years old to be homesick at school. There are so many
distractions, so many new and curious things to see, so many interesting
things to do, and there are so many other children all friendly and all
happy, that even if your boy cries when you leave him, the probabilities
are high that before you reach the station he will be playing--shyly or
uproariously, as temperament may decide--but certainly happily, with
some new-found friend.

One of the most delightful things about a school for deaf children is
the way all the other pupils welcome, pet, and look out for a newcomer.
Every one makes much of him, and it would be hard indeed to be lonely
long in the midst of so much attention and friendliness.

And now a word about letters.

Before you sent the boy to school I hope you didn't fail to teach him to
recognize the written names of the different members of the family, so
that he might be sure to understand whom his first letters came from.
And don't forget that he will be eager for letters! Too many mothers
feel that it is useless to write to their children during their first
year away from them. They are so sure that no word from them can be
understood that they content themselves with sending inquiries to the
proper authorities, and an occasional picture postcard to the children
themselves, and fail to realize how soon their little boy or girl grasps
the fact that the other children have real letters in envelopes, and
that these come from home, or how sharp a disappointment it is when day
after day goes by and brings them nothing.

If you could see, as I have seen, a letter, so worn that it was cracked
on all its folds and dingy with much handling, carried day after day
inside a little blouse, or guimpe, and put under the pillows every
night, you would understand a little what those pieces of paper, covered
with very imperfectly understood characters, but carrying love and
remembrance from home, mean, even before the children can read them.
And very soon, if you are an observant mother, your child will really be
able to read them.

For example, your boy's first letter may be something like this:


     "DEAR MAMMA:

     "I am well. I love you.               HARRY."


When you answer it you might say, with the certainty that every word
would be understood:


     "DEAR HARRY:

     "Mamma loves you. Papa is well. Mamma and Papa love you.

     "Good-by.                             MAMMA."


Not a very satisfactory letter, do you say? Perhaps not to you, but most
delightful and understandable to the little boy to whom it is written.
And if a little later you follow it with another containing one of the
kodak pictures of the cat, with "Tommy" written under it, accompanying
such a note as this, not only your little boy, but his teacher will
bless you:


     "DEAR HARRY:

     "Mamma is well. Papa is well. Mamma and Papa love you. Tommy loves
     you, too. Tommy is the cat. Tommy wants to see you.

     "Good-by.                             MAMMA."


I have written these two notes not as models to be copied, but to show
you how with a little thought and care you may ring the changes on
almost every sentence that your boy learns; and make use of every new
word, giving him a great deal of pleasure and helping to fix the phrases
in his mind and to make him realize that they are really valuable
additions to his means of communication. But I do not mean that you
should confine your letters entirely to words and sentences that the
child already knows. In fact, new expressions, if they are short and
simple, and if the main part of your letter is made up of things the
child understands at once, will add very much to the interest of your
letter. He will be eager to know what the strange words mean, and the
new nouns, verbs, and adjectives will go immediately to swell his
vocabulary.

Like any child just learning to talk, your little boy will at first use
nouns, when later he will use pronouns, so in your earliest letters to
him you will be surer of making yourself understood if you do the same.
Probably, too, with the exception of two or three sentences like "I am
well. I love you," you will notice that all his statements are written
in the past tense, and that will be a guide to you to confine your own
remarks to the past, for the most part, till you notice that he has
begun to use the future and the present himself. Watch his letters
carefully and adapt your own language forms to his.

There are two things that, as a general rule, I would advise you not to
write about, and these are any illnesses in the family and--that supreme
joy of school life--the box you are planning to send.

My reasons for this taboo are that even very little children are often
made unhappy and anxious, sometimes for days, if they know there is
sickness at home, while in the second place boxes are so often delayed
that they become the source of much disturbance of mind when the
expressman fails to bring them.

I knew a little girl who watched every delivery for a week and cried
after every one because the box her mother had promised her did not
appear. So let illness and boxes go unmentioned till you can write
something like this, "Papa was sick last week. He is well now. He goes
to the office every day." And after the box has had time to reach its
destination you can say, "Mamma sent a box to you Wednesday. She put two
handkerchiefs, some new shoes, six oranges, and some money in the box.
Papa gave the money to you."

If you are like most mothers, before many weeks have gone by you will be
eager to visit your boy and see for yourself how he is getting on;
whether he is really as happy as the letters from school assure you he
is; what he is learning in class, and whether he has blankets enough on
his bed and sugar enough on his oatmeal.

But before the letter announcing the day of your arrival is posted or
your ticket is bought, sit down by the fire and think the matter over.

You have confidence in the school, else you would never have sent your
boy there; and you have been told repeatedly either that the little
fellow is happy and well or, it may be, that he was rather homesick at
first, but has now settled down to a very comfortable and contented
state of mind and is doing well in class.

Now, if you go to see him too soon after he has left home there will
really be a good deal more danger that the boy will be homesick after
you leave him than there was when you took him to school in September,
even if he has been quite happy up to the time of your visit.

In the first place, he will think, drawing his conclusions from visits
that he may have made before, that school is over and that you have
come to take him home. So it will be a great surprise and shock when you
go away without him. And in any case, after the separation of some
weeks, his love for you will make him want to be with you, and he will
really suffer when you say good-by.

So, if I were you, I would wait till after the Christmas holidays before
going for my visit. By that time he will be fully settled in his new
life and will look on it as an established part of existence. He will
know from observation that other mothers come for a little while and
then go home again without taking their children with them, and his
advance in understanding will make it much easier to explain to him that
your visit is temporary and will not make any radical change in his own
life.

The delay will mean a good deal of self-sacrifice for you, but may very
possibly save your boy from a sharp attack of homesickness, while later
in the year this danger will usually have disappeared, and your visit
will bring nothing but pleasure to you both and will help to make
school what you want it to be--a place where all sorts of delightful
things are constantly sure to happen.



XXV

DURING THE SCHOOL PERIOD


But the opportunities and obligations of the parents of deaf children to
aid in their education by no means cease when the children enter school.

Throughout the entire period of school life, and even after their
children leave school, the parents can be of very great assistance to
them. During the time that the school is in session, if the child is
away from home, the parents should write not less than once a week, and
oftener if possible. These letters should contain all the little
happenings at home, no matter how insignificant and uninteresting they
may seem. If these things are expressed in simple language, using short
sentences and common words, the letters will be one of the most
efficient means of aiding the children to an ability to read, that the
teacher possesses. The child is full of eager curiosity to know the
smallest details of the familiar home life. He will exert his mind more
to dig out the meaning of the language of home letters than he will to
understand a story in a reader. Miss Worcester has suggested one or two
little letters that would do during the first half year at school. By
the beginning of the second year it would be helpful if the letters read
something like this:


     "MY DEAR BOY:

     "We got your nice letter. Thank you for it. We always like to know
     what you do at school. We like to know the names of your
     schoolmates. We are glad when you tell us about your books and your
     teachers. Mother, Tom, Jane and I are well. We talk about you
     often. We are glad you can go to school. A cat frightened the hens.
     The hens ran. The cat was naughty. I drove the cat away. I think
     the cat wanted to eat the little chickens.

     "Tom hid behind the door. He jumped out quickly. He frightened
     Jane. She screamed. He laughed. Jane cried. Mother scolded Tom
     because he made Jane cry. Tom said Jane was a baby. Jane said Tom
     was a bad boy. Then Jane laughed. She forgave Tom. Tom said he was
     sorry.

     "We all love you.

     "Good-by.

                                 "Your loving
                                         "FATHER."


Each year the letters can be a little more grown up and they should
always be frequent.



XXVI

DURING VACATION


When vacation time comes and the children come home for the summer, the
home folks will probably have some trouble at first in understanding
their imperfect speech. Do not be discouraged. The speech will steadily
improve from year to year, and you will soon be able to comprehend it,
even when it is very faulty. But do not accept from the child anything
except the best speech he is capable of. When the boy first arrives you
will, probably, not know just how much to expect of him. To begin with,
it will do him no harm to ask him to repeat what he says, even if you
really did understand him the first time. He will probably speak much
more distinctly the second time than he did the first, and you will see
that you can demand of him more than you at first thought he could do.
He will not be discouraged by being asked to repeat. He is used to it.
The price of good speech, like the price of liberty, is eternal
vigilance. During the school period, teachers and parents should give
unremitting attention to demanding of the children, _every time they
speak_, the best enunciation of which they are at that time capable.

If you do not understand the boy, or he does not understand you, do not
let him resort to gestures, nor use them yourself. Give him pencil and
paper, if necessary. It will not be necessary often or long, and each
day occasions of difficulty will grow fewer.

Provide some useful and helpful occupation for the child for at least a
part of each day. Do not let him play at random all the time. Continue a
certain regularity of life in the matter of meals and getting up and
going to bed. Insist upon respectful behavior and good manners. He has
these demanded of him at school. Do not let him return in the fall
having lost much that he had gained during the preceding year.

When he is at home keep him in touch with the activities and the topics
of discussion in the family circle. Do not let him withdraw or feel shut
out. This will take a good deal of effort and self-denial and patience,
but in the long run it will repay the parents. Failure to do this will
eventually bring sorrow to all concerned. Train the other children to do
their share of this. Insist upon their telling the deaf one their plans
and their doings. Unless some care is taken he will see the others going
without knowing where or why, he will sometimes lose pleasures because
he did not hear the talk that was going on around him and no one thought
to tell him. This has a tendency to make him bitter and unsocial.

From the very beginning of spoken intercourse with the deaf child the
greatest care should be taken to speak NATURALLY to him. Avoid entirely
all exaggeration of lip movement and mouth opening. Speak a little
slowly, perhaps, and always distinctly, but never with facial
contortions and waving hands. The aim of his oral training is to enable
him to understand the ordinary speech of people when they speak to him,
and to do this he requires an immense amount of practice, just as the
hearing child requires a great deal of practice for years before he can
understand what people are saying to him. If you speak to him in a
different way from that employed when speaking to others he will learn
to understand that, but not your ordinary manner of speaking. He will
also imitate it himself. The Chinaman speaks and understands only
"Pidgin" English because only "Pidgin" English has been used in
communicating with him. If people had spoken to the Chinaman as they do
to other people he would have gradually acquired good English.

So it is with the deaf child. If you want him to gradually learn to
understand the ordinary intercourse of life, you must exercise him in it
for years. You must not expect him to get much at first, any more than
you expect the baby to understand to start with. But each month he will
gain more, and by the time he is sixteen or seventeen he will have very
nearly overtaken his hearing brother. But if you always address him with
a yawning mouth and flopping tongue and lips, and use deaf-mute English
to him, he will progress in his understanding and use of that, but it is
not what you wish him to acquire. Be patient, be gentle, be untiring and
unremitting in your efforts, but BE NATURAL. _Keep your eyes on his eyes
and speak only when his gaze is upon your face._


Before closing I ought to say that (more is the pity) there are many
persons who live by trading upon the ignorance and credulity of the
unfortunate. The deaf and the friends of the deaf fall an easy prey to
the advertisements of quack remedies, ear drums, etc., that are always
useless and sometimes actually dangerous. The American Medical
Association has had the courage to issue a pamphlet in which these fake
cures are described and exposed, and every deaf person, and parent of a
deaf child, should have one of these pamphlets. The title is "Deafness
Cure Fakes," and can be obtained by writing to the American Medical
Association, 535 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Any one who has read these pages will easily see that the suggestions
are all aimed to secure for the deaf a treatment similar in kind, though
somewhat different in degree, to that accorded the normal hearing
person. The tendency has been to differentiate the deaf too much from
the hearing. By adopting the procedure of pure oralism, effectively
applied under _real oral conditions_, uncontaminated, during the
educational period from five to twenty years of age, by finger spelling
or signs, the deaf will be far more fully restored to a normal position
in the social and industrial world than they can ever be by the silent
methods at present so largely used during their most impressionable
years.



XXVII

SOME NOTS


Do not be downcast.

Deafness does not, necessarily, bring dumbness.

Do not consider the deaf child as different from other children.

Do not cease talking to him.

Do not speak with exaggerated facial movements.

Do not exempt him from the duties and tasks and obedience properly
demanded of all children.

Do not let him grow selfish.

Do not let him grow indifferent.

Do not be in haste.

Do not show impatience.





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