Hearing Impairment, Sign Language and Makaton

Learning to understand the world when you are young is difficult for many children. When you, or a member of your family, can’t hear as well as everyone else, it can be even harder. Sharing stories about other children struggling with similar situations can be comforting and help children to develop coping skills.

Proud to be deaf
by Ava, Lilli and Nick Beese

Ava is like any other 7-year-old. She likes to talk and laugh with her friends, is obsessed with dogs and loves being active. Ava is also deaf – and she’s proud of it. She loves her Deaf community, that she’s bilingual, and that she experiences the world differently from hearing people. In this book, Ava welcomes her hearing peers to her daily life, the way technology helps her navigate the world and explains common misconceptions about deaf people – and introduces some of her deaf heroes who have achieved amazing things. 
Age: 6+

Freddie and the Fairy
by Julia Donaldson and Karen George

When Freddie rescues Bessie-Belle the fairy, she offers to grant his wishes.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t hear very well and he tends to mumble and things get a bit muddled.  Fortunately the Fairy Queen is on hand to explain things.
Age: 4+

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What the Jackdaw Saw
by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt

The animals try to warn jackdaw that he is flying into danger, but he can’t understand the signs they are using.  This story about friendship and sign language was written by Julia Donaldson with a group of deaf children in a workshop run by The Life & Deaf Association.
Age: 3+

Dachy’s Deaf
by Jack Hughes

Dachy wears a hearing aid but sometimes, when he wants a bit of peace and quiet, he turns it off.
Age: 4+

I Can Hear!
by Louise John and Andy Elkerton

A boy with impaired hearing lists all the things he can hear with his hearing aid.
Age: 5+

Max and the millions
by Ross Montgomery

Max is used to spending time alone – it’s difficult to make friends in a big, chaotic school when you’re deaf. He prefers to give his attention to the little things in life – like making awesome, detailed replica models. Then Mr Darrow, the school caretaker and fellow modeller, goes missing. Max must follow his parting instruction: ‘Go to my room. You’ll know what to do’. On the floor he finds a pile of sand – and in the sand is Mr Darrow’s latest creation – a tiny boy, no bigger than a raisin, Luke, Prince of the Blues. And behind the tiny boy – millions of others – a thriving, bustling, sprawling civilisation!
Age: 9+

Echo Come Home
by Megan Rix

Eleven-year-old Jake is dreading his new school. No one understands how hard it is for him to make friends. Then Jake meets Echo, a stray puppy, training to be a hearing dog. With Echo by his side, Jake’s confidence grows – but then Echo disappears.
Age: 9+

Books for parents

My Makaton book of numbers
by Tom Pollard

Learning to count is fun with My Makaton Book of Numbers and downloadable activity sheets. Lovable illustrations of colourful sea animals are used to introduce early maths concepts. The text is enhanced using Makaton Symbols and Signs which encourage the development of essential communication and literacy skills.

A first guide to baby signing
by Katie Mayne

Babies understand much before they can talk. Reading books together and using sign language encourages early word play. Sign language provides a way for babies to communicate.

Learn to sign with Olli: the fun way to learn sign language
by Gerry Slack

‘Learn to Sign with Olli’ offers all children and parents a fun way to learn sign language through four complete stories.

Useful Organisation

National Deaf Children’s Society:
Provides support, information and advice for deaf children, young people and their families, as well as information about sign language

CBBC, makaton:
Information about Makaton, and videos featuring Makaton.

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