1 in 1000 children in India are born deaf or hard of hearing. Of the 5 lakh hard of hearing/deaf babies born globally every year, 1 lakh are in India. Of these over 90% to hearing families, who either have no access to resources or knowledge of how to help these children. As a result of this, children miss out on crucial years of gaining language.
Language and communicative competence provide critical tools for learning, engaging in social relationships, and behaviour and emotion regulation from infancy onward.
There are two aspects of Language: 1) Structural language i.e. sounds of language (phonology), vocabulary (semantics), grammar, narrative discourse, and information processing 2) Pragmatic language i.e. conversational or other communicative turn-taking, making good use of gestures and maintaining eye contact.
In addition, children must be able to both express their thoughts (expressive language) and understand those of others (receptive language) in both social and learning situations.
Development of Language in Early Years
In the first five years, the evolution of communication begins at birth when infants communicate through cries, and gestures, to when he is 18 months, at which stage he engages with the adults for intentional communication.
From 18 months onwards, language overtakes action as children’s primary means of learning and communication. For instance, preschoolers can engage in conversations about emotions that take into account another’s affective state, can use language for self-control and have the capacity to negotiate verbally.