Natural Aural Approach: Guide

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

Working With Families

The Deaf Child and the Family

Families are central, as the child will be fully immersed in their home language and culture.  It is what babies are born into and is the start of becoming socially, culturally and linguistically immersed.

Deaf children are first and foremost children and during childhood their lives will be dominated by their needs as children.  A child’s deafness does not change these basic needs, but it will require the family to manage the deafness at the same time as looking after their child’s physical, social and emotional and learning needs.  The Natural Aural Approach seeks to ensure that this happens i.e. that children enjoy and benefit from normal childhood learning experiences within the family and their community and later their schools. 

For deaf babies and children to grow up listening, learning and speaking for themselves they need to be in contexts in which listening and talking are the normal way of life.


  • The context in the home is familiar and meaningful.
  • The family understands, manages and checks the hearing aids/Cochlear Implants and these are working optimally and worn consistently during waking hours.
  • Interactions are in the ‘here and now’ and adults adjust their speech to the child’s interest and attention quite naturally and spontaneously.


“In repeated familiar interactions, the child comes to anticipate the structure of events and the actions and reactions of the adult - what he is thinking about, about to do, look at, laugh at, recognise or respond to.  What the child is thinking and reacting to is also likely to be known by the adult.  Thus, as they refer to the object of his thinking they bring the language into line with his existing thoughts.  This intimate contingency between the adult speech and the child’s preverbal understanding provides the key with which the child unlocks the door to linguistic meaning.”  (Wood, D.J quoted by Lewis and Richards 1988)