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Published On: 19 May 2022Categories: Articles, Deaf Awareness

Digital Interactive Educational Story Books (DIEB)

The DIEB series was started to address a need that we identified within the community. The vast majority of our communities use a spoken language but interspersed here are people who use a visual language, a signed language. With 98% of deaf children being born to hearing parents, the odds are very good that the parents use a spoken language which is not necessarily accessible to this child with hearing loss. So what resource is available to these parents? Children who cannot hear enough to acquire a spoken language, need a visual language for them to develop optimally and practically no one who is not deaf or involved in that community knows any sign language so where would a deaf baby get accessible language input? The result is that these children lag behind.

The DIEB is directly aimed at this group of people. If you find out your child is deaf and decide to learn South African Sign Language (SASL), the digital books are a resource that can be enjoyed by both yourself and your baby. The books consist of 5 parts with each part consisting of more complex language. The first book has very basic vocabulary along with very clear and colourful pictures and follows a family who goes on a trip – here we learn vocabulary for the things around you. The content progresses to where there are short sentences which the parent can use and adapt based on the previous vocabulary. The parent can say “Look at the bird” and replace bird with any other noun – in this way we see more frequent intentional interaction, which is important because deaf babies cannot pickup language at random, there needs be a very specific effort made to get eye contact and then interact.

The overarching aim of the digital book series is for the child to remain at home for a longer period and not need to attend a school for the deaf at a young age in order to learn SASL. The bond between parent and child is strengthened and the child does not need to attend a school for the deaf at a young age in order to acquire an accessible language because, as it is meant to be “mother tongue”, the child will get that language from his/her mother. We are trying to emulate what happens when a deaf baby is born to parents who know SASL. When a child acquires language in the home, in the appropriate timeframe, there is space for optimal development in the academic environment. There are examples of these children who are born to deaf parents, and it is very clear that they outperform their peers.

So, the primary outcome is to produce a Digital Interactive Educational Book in SASL that guides the parent/caregiver and Deaf child through the language acquisition process – starting with vocabulary, moving to simple sentences and progressing to complex sentences and stories. This will be done through the development of a series that consists of 5 different phases. Each phase is aligned with the child’s specific language acquisition needs. The 5 different phases are:


PHASE 2: INTERACTIVE BOOK IN SASL, IMAGES AND ENGLISH WORDS. English words expand the written language vocabulary.

PHASE 3: INTERACTIVE BOOK USING SASL GRAMMAR. Includes SASL video, as well as short narration of the story in SASL.

PHASE 4: INTERACTIVE BOOK IN SASL AND ENGLISH (short sentence) This illustrated interactive book uses an expanding story that deals with slightly more abstract concepts and illustrates the significant differences between SASL and English (includes: videos, English words, and narration).

PHASE 5: INTERACTIVE BOOK IN SASL AND ENGLISH (complex sentence) The last phase of this illustrated interactive book includes a full story with more complex sentences in both English and SASL.

One of the secondary outcomes is well adapted learners that can communicate with their hearing parents, can perform academically and function well socially.

Feel free to make use of this resource by scanning the QR code or by following the link – https://nid.org.za/resources/