Give deaf children permission to be who they are

Classroom Guyana

Hot Momma’s Advice: Having a parent’s assurance can make all the difference to a child who is hard of hearing or deaf. Allow your child to be who s/he is!

As you get your child ready for school s/he once again is not listening to you. It seems like you have to repeat everything you say to your child at least twice and sometimes s/he doesn’t even answer if her/his back is turned towards you. You are tired of yelling and feel as if your child is just acting out of bad behaviour, but wait! What if in fact your child is simply just not hearing you? If your child has been diagnosed as having some kind of hearing loss there is a plethora of ideas and options that doctors and specialists will suggest.

However, after working with the deaf population for over two years in Guyana, if there is one thing I learned, it’s this: It’s important to give deaf children permission to be who they are!

Allowing your child the freedom to be who s/he is, is important for every child. Allowing deaf children to be who they are and giving them plenty of opportunities to figure it out for themselves is so important. It doesn’t matter if your child is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) or communicates through gestures; it doesn’t matter if your child is hard of hearing or totally deaf. The important thing is this: whatever works best for your child, your child needs to know that this is perfectly okay with you.

Here are a few other basic suggestions to consider with your child who is deaf or hard of hearing to help and strengthen your communication with each other.

Speak clearly in a normal voice, making sure the child can see your lips and facial expressions. Yelling doesn’t make anyone understand better.

Use visuals and create your own language and way of understanding with your child.

If you are able and have access to learn ASL, try!

Especially if your child is attending a school where it is taught. Having a common language between school and home will be of great benefit to your child’s understanding and development as a learner.

Refer to the Audiology Clinic at the Ministry of Health for a hearing test to see if hearing aids would be beneficial.

Don’t make assumptions about what you think your child can and can’t do. Give her/him opportunities to explore and experience life.

If a child needs to wear a hearing aid, make sure s/he has one and wears it in school.

And last but not least, be an advocate for your child. Often, children who are deaf are excluded from the community when in all actuality communication with them is not so far off from basic everyday body language. Talk with people when they see you communicating with your child, explain what your child is saying to others for a better understanding, and help the people around you become better communicators by teaching them what you know!

More exposure creates more acceptance and having your child feel like s/he belongs is what it’s all about!

Please send specific or general questions about your child’s education or way to teach them to:

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