Challenges Presents Itself When You Teach A Deaf Child
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
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.
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?
Talents measured with disabilities
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
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
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.
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
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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