Teaching Children Who Are Deaf: Activities for the Classroom

Teaching Children Who Are Deaf: Activities for the Classroom
Page content

Pretend Play

Children who are deaf have normal intelligence and can study just like other children. However, in the initial years, they struggle with

many issues including language and communication. In this article on teaching children who are deaf, activities for the classroom are suggested to help a child build up language, communication and social skills.

Pretend play is a normal part of child development. Most children pick up dolls, talk to them, and play with them. Children with sign language use signs instead of talking. Provide opportunities for the child to pretend play. Provide materials, time and space for a child to practice communication skills with dolls and imaginary friends. If the child is not doing it on their own, you may need to model it and involve the child till he or she learns.

Classroom Responsibilities

In the classroom, children who are deaf should also be given some responsibilities. Responsibilities can be as simple as making sure the board is clean before they leave, or opening the windows in the morning. These responsibilities help the child feel important and valued and helps build up their confidence to work independently.

Story Time

Story time is a great way to develop literacy skills in children who are deaf. Activities should use short stories with pictures and few words per page. Read the words, and sign them during the story. Get the children to sign some of the words used in the story with you. Also, use the story to talk about other things related to the same topic. Even if you have an integrated classroom, the other children will enjoy learning and practicing signs at story time. Allow children to look at books that you have read to them at their own pace.


Children who cannot hear miss out on learning to appreciate and enjoy music. However, you can make this possible by helping them understand vibration. Use drums and other vibrating instruments in your classroom for activities. Allow children to play with instruments and feel the vibrations. You can also play a drum while allowing the child to feel the rhythm with one hand, and follow the rhythm with the other hand on another drum.

Paired Activities

Children who cannot hear find it difficult to work with others, especially other children who can hear. Pair up a child who is deaf with another child to do an activity together. The activity can be a craft activity, or even going to the garden and getting some materials for the lesson. Start with more structured activities that require only the sharing of materials, and slowly involve the child in more unstructured activities that require planning and communication. All of these various activities will help a deaf child develop necessary communication skills.