Communication Considerations for Parents of Deaf Children
Hearing impairment and deafness not only affects the child who is impaired or is suffering from hearing loss, but it also affects the child’s friends, family and teachers. For centuries, people have debated over the topic to find the best ways to provide education and develop parenting communication skills for deaf children.
Here are a few salient points upon which educators, health and scientific professionals and experienced parents commonly agree:
Why should my child’s hearing be screened?
The earlier that hearing loss or deafness is identified, the greater is the chance that a child will start developing listening and speaking skills spoken or signed. A hearing screening is always the ultimate way for finding out deafness or a hearing loss. For this reason all children should be screened in their infancy, while they are still in the hospital or if not so, then within the very next month. However, children who do not pass this test initially need to go for follow-up examinations which can include audiological tests that helps in confirming the extent and the type of hearing loss. This also allows the health professionals and the parents to predetermine the most effective interventional strategy for the impaired child. The term “intervention” over here refers to the different steps that families can count upon to overcome the barriers which is caused by the hearing loss. It has been seen that when intervention is introduced early, the impaired child can take advantage of this golden window of unique opportunity during the very first years of his/her life, when any child grows up and understands the importance of listening and speaking skills, and acquire languages whether it can be spoken or signed.
Each child is unique
Every child is singular and unique on its own. So it is always important that we must understand the full nature and magnitude of a child’s deaf disease or hearing loss. It is also significant in this respect as to how each family member or caregiver of the child will communicate with the impaired kid. So, try to know the facilities that are delivered in your community for impaired children who are in preschool and elementary classes.
Can we optimize any residual hearing?
Optimizing on residual hearing can be rewarding for the impaired child. Children may benefit from cochlear implants and hearing aids. This is another major thing that you must discuss with your child’s healthcare provider and all other professions who assists and works with deaf children and with their language development skills.
Expand your options by working with professionals
Expanding your options, if it is possible by working with a professional who imparts knowledge to impaired children. This can be really beneficial. You can take your child to otolaryngologist, pediatrician, audiologists and a speech-language pathologist. There are many audiologists and otolaryngologists who are specialized and trained to work mostly with infants and children. These doctors are known as pediatric audiologists and pediatric otolaryngologists. Coordinated care by several professionals can be a big help not only to you, but also for your child. Many parents have even found that it is very useful if you can include social service professionals and educational personnel on the team.
Interact with your child proactively
Parents should always proactively interact often with their hard-to-hear or deaf children. You can do this by facing, holding, smiling at and responding to your child right from his/her infancy. Remember, children need care, encouragement and love from their family and it is more necessary when they suffer from loss of hearing or deafness. Since hearing loss and depression are correlated factors that often affect the impaired child.
Work with the teachers of your child
Last but not the least, teachers who are experienced in communicating and working with hard-to-hear and deaf children can also help parents as to how they can improve long-term outcome for their impaired child.
So, try to know the educational system your child will be entering and then make yourself also a learner of this system for better growth and development of your child.