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Caring for a deaf child

Caring for a deaf child
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Deafness can affect the way in which children communicate, learn and socialise. There are varying degrees of hearing loss and different children will need different levels of support. If your child, or someone close to you, has been diagnosed with hearing loss then are some things you can do to make life easier.

Reduce background noise

For children with mild hearing loss and those who wear hearing aids, background noise can pose a real problem. Turn off music and only put the television on when it is being watched. Carpets and wall coverings can help reduce noise in a room and make it easier for children to hear what is going on.

Speak to them

It is a common misconception that there is little point talking to a deaf child. But even as a baby, a deaf child can pick up on what you’re saying. Some children with hearing loss can understand most of what is said to them, providing you face them and cut out background noise. This is particularly true of those wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants. Speak clearly but don’t alter your lip movements or talk too slowly. Practising with you will help your child communicate with other people as she develops and grows.

 

Learn sign language

This one may seem obvious but learning sign language together is a great way of communicating effectively. Learning at the same pace means you can bounce off and learn from each other and you’ll be able to practise at the same level. The earlier you introduce your child to sign language, the quicker she will pick it up.

Caring for a deaf child

Help her communicate with peers

Not all children will have come into contact with a deaf person and the best way you can help a deaf child to interact well with her peers is to show others what to do. Explain the best way of getting your child’s attention and some of the common signals she understands. Encourage kids to face your child when speaking to her and to make sure they have her attention before starting to speak.

Emergencies

It is important that your children know what to do in case of emergency and this can sometimes be problematic if your child can’t hear an alarm going off. The simplest solution to this is to add bright flashing lights to smoke alarm systems. However, this won’t be appropriate for all situations so have a distinct signal that you use in case of danger or emergency. Don’t use this signal for anything else and practise it so your child is familiar with what it means.

Find support

Hearing parents often don’t know much about daily life as a person who is deaf or hard of hearing. Coming to terms with and living with deafness can feel isolating and you will probably have loads of questions. Finding (or setting up) a support group in your area will help you as a parent as well as give your child the opportunity to socialise with other deaf children. The National Deaf Children’s Society is a great first port of call and should be able to offer help and advice as well as letting you know what’s on in your local area.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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