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How To Communicate With A Deaf Child | Why An Insensitive Hearing Public?

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Challenges Presents Itself When You Teach A Deaf Child

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Teach a Deaf child and receive great satisfaction

A hearing impaired youngster faces daily challenges. Depending on the hearing people he or she deals with, those challenges might be enriching, frightening, infantilizing or neutral. Understanding extended family members who give support when needed and follow the family’s communication decisions are like gold. They also realize that when they teach a deaf child, regardless if it’s a relative or not, there are great rewards.

However, this is NOT always the case for families of children with hearing problems. Sometimes the extended family neither participates nor supports the communication mode or the person-rearing style of your nuclear family.

Teachers And Administrators

Educators showing care and concern

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Teachers and administrators will have a profound impact on your deaf child. Teachers have daily contact with the student and are intimately involved in the development of the student’s academic life, linguistic ability, and social self-esteem.

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     Teacher dealing with deaf and non-deaf children

Administrators set the tone of a program with policy-making and financial backing.

A supportive teacher will attend to both your youngster’s specific academic and communication needs.

Many public school teachers have not had much contact with these type of children and need information about how to interact with your youngster.

Teachers of the deaf will have more specific training for working with deaf children, however, they may vary greatly in their communication skills, communication philosophy, and teaching approaches.

Meet with teachers and administrators before your student begins classes.

Neighborhood children might form friendships with your kid; however, over time, and as cliques develop, the hearing impaired is more likely to be ostracized. You start to question can deafness be cured?

Talented Youngsters

Talents measured with disabilities

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Physical activity is good.

If your youngster has a particular talent, such as being a good athlete, his peers may seek him out as a friend because of that talent.

If he or she has other difficulties (hyperactivity or learning problems, for example) or is perceived as different by his or her peers, they may have trouble building friendships.

Neighborhood adults can play a vital role in setting the tone for interaction among children.

Let trusted adults know how to communicate with your child. In fact, include these people as an integral part of your family’s activities if possible.

Invite them to join you in planned activities. (especially those that highlight and teach about the positive aspects of deafness).

Local business can serve as your child’s practice ground for interacting with the public.

Educate local merchants about how to handle your student. Let the salespeople know how to communicate with your youngster, inform them that you will often let your kid handle interactions; and, above all, encourage them to treat your hearing impaired youngster as they would any other boy or girl.

Giving Not Always Best Solution

Don’t spoil the child

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Some young students with hearing loss become accustomed to being given things for free. Store owners or other hearing people in the community, such as school bus drivers or neighbors, like to give small gifts to a deaf child.

We have heard stories about store owners giving those kids drastically reduced prices on certain fixed price items, such as notebooks, toys, and health suppliers.

These gifts are often given with good intentions and take the place of real communications. Unfortunately, some hearing adults do this out of pity for the kid with hearing loss or to seek their affection. In all cases, the youngster begins to expect and feel entitled to receive something for nothing. Discourage such gift-giving and explain your concerns to these well-meaning adults.

If they feel compelled to give gifts to your youngster, then suggest that they do so at appropriate times, such as holidays and birthdays.

Situations With School Bus Drivers

 Time to take notice

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Most hearing impaired kids could tell you a multitude of stories about their school bus drivers. Some drivers go out of their way to make your kid feel safe and secure, while others actually yell and curse.

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Hearing impaired girl heads out to school

Some drivers treat the hearing impaired youngster with kid glove, while others give special gifts and treats to the boys and girls.

The driver who frighten the student do so out of their own discomfort, lack of good boundaries, or inability to sense what is appropriate behavior.

Many drivers form healthy friendships with the child while many others overstep their bounds. The school, the teachers, and you should take a lead role in educating the bus drivers in handling hearing impaired youngsters.

The general public briefly glimpse your child. Depending on the circumstances and the individuals you come into contact with, you may cause questioning looks, looks of curiosity, confused responses, genuine interest, or cruel mocking.

In the past, hearing impaired youngsters have suffered many negative experiences at the hands of the ignorant hearing public.

Movies, TV commercials, special reports, news, and weekly series have all begun to show deafness and American Sign Language in a positive light.

This has fortunately altered the way the people view individuals suffering from hearing loss.

However, many people remain ignorant or insensitive about deafness. Your youngster must learn, over time, how to deal with the various reactions he receives in safe ways that maintain his or her self-integrity.

Responsibility And Communication

An up-most important move

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Deaf people are often characterized as “immature.” This means, in part, that on the average they have less general information, that their goals tend to be short – rather than long – range, and that they may be less likely than hearing persons to think through the consequences of their actions.

Although these impressions may not be surprising, there seems to be a little reason to believe that immaturity is inevitable; the lack of early communication within the family is cause enough for restricted growth because it deprives deaf children of the learning opportunities that are taken for granted with hearing children.

This “immaturity” is largely, if not completely, preventable. It is also important for deaf children to be given responsibility.

A comparison study of 120 deal children and their families with the same number of hearing children and their families was made in the Greater Vancouver area.

Parents were asked to check off the independent activities they would permit their child to engage in. Deaf children were allowed to do less than hearing children of the same age.

It seems that to be deaf with hearing parents may mean that you will be overprotected and denied an important area of development.

Sometimes the fact that deaf children can accept responsibility is not understood.

Deaf adults often report that they missed much of what was said in a hearing family: ‘why’ things happen, ‘why’ you are allowed to do something at one time and not at another, and ‘why’ people feel and react the way they do.

Seeing that deaf persons can accept responsibility should help you to present your child with reasonable expectations and to see the need for early two-way communication that will enable you to give explanations when you are asked “why?”

A total communication approach fosters inclusion of your deaf child in family activities.

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Check out these amazing tools designed to teach & promote quality, effective, integrated learning. Go to:

Self-esteem Elevation For Children Coaching Certification

Toddler Talk: Techniques & Games – Proven Language Therapy Techniques

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Author:Ronald Kennedy

Ron attended the Art institute of Chicago in 1980 and Harold Washington College in 1997. He graduated from Malcolm X College in May, 2000 majoring in 'Hearing Loss in America' and 'Children with Hearing Disabilities Around the World' (Ron has another interesting website, https://lovefolks.com regarding Love, Dating & Relationship). A Graduate of Malcolm X College in 2000 with an associate's degree in applied science, Ron also worked with the 'Chicago Area Autopsy Service' which is affiliated with the Medical Examiners Office, near downtown Chicago. The service covered all the local and suburban hospitals when reports of a death is called in.

32 responses to “How To Communicate With A Deaf Child | Why An Insensitive Hearing Public?”

  • Amy June 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm Reply 

    Great post, and so true that the teachers have a profound impact on the childs’ development and self-esteem. Especially for a deaf child. That connection is crucial to their success. I also agree with what you said about the childs’ overall involvement in the community. Very important that he/she feel connected and part of something that resonates with them.


    • Ronald Kennedy June 25, 2017 at 9:53 pm Reply 

      Hi Amy and thanks for checking in. Being a deaf child in our society has its challenges. Challenges that a hearing child would never face. This is why education is so critical, and a ‘key’ turning point in a hearing impaired child’s life. Professionals in this field play an important role in regards to monitoring the progression of learning and understanding of a child with disabilities.

      Preparing a deaf child to adapt in a hearing world is not an easy task for educators and caregivers, but preparation to achieve an acceptable success rate is doable. Adjusting ones self to live in a normal community is the ultimate goal. 

      One thing that I’ve strongly recommended is that parents should learn sign language because you never know when this skill may come in handy. Even if you are a parent of a hearing child, it’s still a good thing to know this. Involvement in the community is ‘key’ and the feeling of being ‘connected’ is so important.

      Thanks Amy for commenting. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.


  • Kanza July 1, 2017 at 2:37 am Reply 

    This is such a beautiful article! It points out so many things that we take for granted in out lives.just yesterday was looking at a video related to this topic and the same thing popped up in my head as well, that one should know sign language.
    The video was about a girl who used to work at Starbucks and how she brightened up the day of this man who couldn’t hear and talk.
    we need to encourage our children to learn it as well and should teach them the right way the kind way to mingle with those who are special.


    • Ronald Kennedy July 1, 2017 at 4:32 am Reply 

      Hi Kanza. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Thanks for the complement. I always try to put blogs together and promote them to a point that I know most folks will find value in it. I agree with you that parents should learn sign language and pass this knowledge on to their children.

      Children in public or private schools will more than likely encounter other children suffering from hearing loss. And with a hearing child, they’ll be able to better communicate with a non-hearing child through their knowledge of sign.

      The video sounds interesting. I’d like to see it. First chance, send me the link. Is it on YouTube? That’s one of those heartwarming stories, that shows there are many caring men and women out here, that help brighten another persons day. These the type of stories I like to hear.

      Thanks again for commenting Kanza. Let me know if I can do anything else for you. Or if you have any questions or concerns.


  • Joe Petruzzi July 17, 2017 at 11:24 am Reply 

    The part about “ignorant hearing public” is spot on. The unnecessary shame and outsider feeling that is imposed on these children and adults is sickening. I cannot even imagine what they are going through not only from the disability, but also from the social differences. That being said, you are right on about the gift giving, entitlements are certainly nothing to teach.


    • Ronald Kennedy July 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm Reply 

      Hi Joe. Thanks for dropping by. First and foremost, hearing loss is a devastating situation regarding families with children, and even adults as well. In most adults it’s usually a progressing stage, like going from ‘bad to worse,’ if not treated properly or not caught early enough. In children, a very large percentage of infants are born with some type of hearing disability. 

      Studies in 2014, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that over 97% of newborns in the United States were screened for hearing loss. Of those babies not passing the hearing screening, over 71% were diagnosed as either having or not having a hearing loss before 3 months of age. 

      Now Joe, imagine the world these kids must face as they age in life. An insensitive and ignorant public awaits them! It’s not to say all folks are like this, but a large number are. Some mean well, but most are just plain old ‘ignorant.’ They don’t have a clue as knowing how to control their unacceptable behavior in regards to handling these disabled children. ‘Gift giving’ don’t make it right. 

      Educators, teachers, school bus drivers and the like, shouldn’t deal in any excessive ‘pampering’ towards the disable. Also, parents of hearing children should teach them to be more acceptable to ‘non-hearing’ children.

      Thanks again Joe for checking in. Let me know if I could do anything else for you.


  • Amit Misal October 4, 2017 at 11:10 am Reply 

    Hi,
    I just visited your site and I really appreciate your hard work for the care of deaf children.I like the way you explain about coordinating with the deaf children.
    I have a friend who is deaf and after reading your article I now understand how I should behave with her .Thanks for the noble attempt.


    • Ronald Kennedy October 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm Reply 

      Hi Amit. Thanks for checking in with me and commenting. I really appreciate your praise on my site and the realization of the work and effort put forward to produce it. There may be other informational sites out on this subject, but none go through great depth, such as I’ve created. 

      Hearing loss is a devastating thing among parents who’s child is born into this world with this disability. Here are some other statistics: 

      Of babies born in the U.S., 2-3 of every 1,000 have a detectable hearing loss in at least one ear.Of adults aged 20-69 who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, only 16 percent have tried them.The average delay between the time someone is affected by hearing loss and when they finally seek treatment is a long 7 years.

      Just out of normal reactions and behavior from most people, they feel they have to handle deaf children with ‘kid gloves,’ as they grow through life. Deaf children want to be treated just as normal as everyone else. Just as any child; if you cater to them, they’ll expect it every time. Hard of hearing children should be treated no different. As the months go by, they’ll appreciate it more. 

      Thanks again for stopping by Amit. Please share this article on your social media and let me know if I can do anything else for you.


  • Song October 4, 2017 at 11:24 am Reply 

    Hi Ronald, I have some deaf friends and the information here is helpful to me. I like the video on the 5 tips. Even though I am not a teacher, I can sure use the information.

    Another thing about communicating with my deaf friends is that I would be very enthusiastic and use my facial expression and body movements to convey my thoughts and emotion. Then the conversation will be soooo interesting!

    Nice work to foster better understanding towards deaf or mildly deaf kids.

    Song


    • Ronald Kennedy October 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm Reply 

      Hi Song. Thanks for checking in with me and commenting. Really appreciate it. Signing is a global thing! Many folks, world wide, benefits from learning sign and communicating with the deaf, partially deaf and hard of hearing.

      It’s a cool thing that you excitingly enjoy communicating with your deaf friends. I know when you use body and facial language to talk to your friends, it makes you feel good knowing you’re communicating, the best you know how.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I also have some helpful tools which you can check out, that caters to the hearing impaired. Just go back and review my site. Maybe these tools I offer can provide you additional knowledge and training regarding signing. One cd caters to signing with children, but the language is all the same. Song, you can view the page here: Song, I figure once you study the steps on the cd, then evenings with your friends, eating, drinking and just hanging out will be more relaxing, fun and interesting. 

      Thanks again my friend, for stopping by and complementing my site. Share this on your social media page and please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.


      • Ronald Kennedy October 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm Reply 

        Thank you,Song. I really do appreciate that. Visit me anytime.


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