This is a clear and user-friendly book which will interest those committed to the oral development of hearing-impaired children and their full inclusion in the everyday social world of education and work. It is highly relevant for professionals and parents who are keen to learn what to do practically to help hearing-impaired children achieve functional verbal language and effective school learning outcomes.
The book is simply presented with an introduction and seven short chapters. The introduction states clearly and concisely Clark's definition of what constitutes a valid ‘natural auditory–oral approach’. This leads on to the main propositions in the seven chapters:
hearing as the basis for the development of spoken language
factors which detract from the use of hearing
how to lay the foundations of spoken language through daily living
how to implement guidance for the parents
how to implement a natural auditory-oral programme at pre-school and school stages, with illustrations from the author's world-wide experience
discussion of the range of educational placements
suggestions for the way forward for educational programmes.
Clark's appraisal of the requirements of the development of educational services for hearing-impaired children underpins these chapters. She stresses the need to upgrade and renew the training of teachers of the deaf and educational facilities in response to the following.
The challenge of neo-natal hearing screening, which is bringing forward children for professional services much younger than ever before.
The rapid advances in hearing sciences, which are leading to regular advances in hearing aid, cochlear implant and FM devices that are capable of transformatory acceleration in the verbal language learning of hearing-impaired children.
The book is short in length and presented in focused, succinct chapters that facilitate easier study of its content and message by a range of readers. It presents its messages in a practical way, with abundant explanation of easily understandable, teaching approaches. The message and mission of the book are also clear; it openly advocates the use of the natural auditory–oral approach as the preferred approach for the vast majority of hearing-impaired children and offers critical evaluation of both signing and auditory therapy approaches. Potential buyers of the book need to be aware of this when deciding whether to purchase it. It is well designed to be of real value in the context of pre-service and in-service professional training for teachers of the deaf, as well as being highly relevant for parents, interested audiologists and others involved with the natural auditory–oral educational management of hearing-impaired children.