How Pre-School Children with Hearing Impairments Communicate at Home and School in Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Gitonga, Muthoni Jane
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The purpose of this study was to investigate how pre-school children with HI communicate both at home and in school. In particular, the study investigated how pre-school children communicate with care givers, the communicative strategies that those children with HI employed in their interaction, communication constraints for pre-school children with HI, both at home and in school and the impact of HI on effective communication for pre-school children. The study adopted a mixed method approach, but used grounded theory research design, to help the researcher to discover the theories behind communication of pre-school children with HI. The research locale was Kirinyaga County. Snowballing sampling techniques was used to sample ten (10) pre-school children with HI while purposive sampling was used to sample the schools where the children had been placed; ten (10) parents/guardians of the same children and ten (10) teachers who had been or were currently . teaching the sampled children, making a total of 30 respondents. The researcher held face-to-face interviews, to gather data from the parents and teachers. Observations were used to gather relevant information relating to pre-school children's language use and communication in school. Data analysis was an ongoing process, where data were coded as soon as they were obtained. The codes were based on key themes most often addressed by the respondents. A data analysis computer based programme, Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to develop a database of all the interviews and observations. All types of data analyzed were used to yield answers to the research questions. The findings were presented in tables, charts and graphs. The findings revealed that although most of the pre-school teachers were trained, none was trained in Special Education. Ninety per cent of the pre-school children' sampled had communication difficulties. Most of the teachers preferred using oral method although the pre-school children preferred manual methods. The researcher recommended for training in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) to all stake holders in the education of the preschool children with HI where proficiency in KSL should be emphasized. Total Communication (TC) should also be enhanced since majority of the teachers used oral methods which limit the pre- school children with HI from acquiring the necessary information which may lead to poor performance. The researcher also recommends that the KSL curriculum for pre-school children with HI be used in all the pre-schools where such children have been placed, to ensure they develop communication skills needed for pre-school children with HI to communicate effectively.