Natural Aural Approach: Guide

Sue Lewis, Alison Holmans and Cate Statham | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Natural Aural Approach Explained

Natural Auralism draws on the innate ability of all children to learn language through listening to and experiencing language.  The opportunities provided by early identification of hearing loss and optimal amplification and early support packages for deaf babies and children mean that they too can use this ability to learn the language of their home and schools and communicate and learn effectively.


It draws heavily on research about learning and on language acquisition in hearing and deaf children, such as 

Bruner  1983  Child’s talk:Learning to use language 

Jean S Moog  2000  Auditory-Oral Education: Teaching Deaf Children To Talk

 Patrick Stone 1997  Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Auditory-Oral


On the basis of this research the Natural Aural Approach central tenets are that:

  • Deaf children’s first language or mother tongue is that of their parents
  • Profound deafness does not stop children from becoming articulate, high achieving young people and adults and living full, successful and happy lives.
  • Deaf children will follow the same sequence of language acquisition and learning as hearing children, providing the adults and children around them respond to their deafness and use language as they would have done with young hearing children


Principles of the Natural Aural Approach are: 

●      All deaf children are capable of learning spoken language, unless there are strong indications that would have precluded this if the child had not been deaf.

●      Language is one part of the child’s broader development and all aspects of the child’s development and play should be monitored and provided for.  However, language itself is a major facilitator of learning and thinking.

●      Parental input is key. 

●      Close monitoring of all aspects of the child’s development so that input is ‘tailored effectively to need’. 

●      Reading and writing fluently derives from a basis of strong spoken language.

●      No formal signs are used within a Natural Aural Approach.