Children with hearing loss are every bit as bright and capable as their hearing peers, but their needs are different. Parents of children with hearing loss often experience various emotions both at the time of diagnosis and at other times as the child grows up. It’s important that parents recognize their feelings and focus on fostering their child’s development.
Parents may feel/experience:
- Sense of Loss
- Loneliness / Isolated
As a parent, both you and your child will benefit from you building your knowledge and confidence. Educate yourself on hearing loss, find a support system through your family and community, and by connecting with other parents whose children are deaf or hard of hearing. It is also important to allow yourself to grieve. Each person reacts differently in his/her own way.
The Child’s Experience
Growing up hard of hearing or deaf in a hearing world can make children feel disconnected, but if they have the opportunity to receive information, participate, and build their identity, they do thrive. Children with hearing loss will go through various emotions as they grow up. Again, these emotions may ebb and reoccur. They may feel left out, different but not quite sure why, angry, lonely, sad, or confused.
As a parent, you will need to be responsive and supportive of as your child encounters challenges. You can help influence how your child interprets his/her experiences.
- Talk to your child about his/hers hearing loss with a positive attitude. Foster a sense of pride in your child’s identity and accomplishments.
- Find support systems, like peer groups where your child can build relationships with other kids with hearing loss who are having similar experiences, and educational support so that your child can thrive academically and not feel left behind in school.
- Become involved in extra-curricular activities where your child can build and showcase skills and talents and develop social groups.
Ways we can help:
Homework Groups – The Hearing and Speech Center offers weekly homework groups for children with hearing loss where kids can get academic help, and also have social time, in a safe space with other children with hearing loss.
Summer Camp and Days of Discovery– Throughout the year we offer family events that are fun and educational, and annually we offer a summer camp including a week of day camp activities and a week at a sleep-away outdoor camp.
Transition – For youth from middle school to high school, the transition program provides group and individual support for building life skills, and setting goals and plans for higher education or vocations. The program provides education and support, while simultaneously connecting youth with a community of peers and adults who have hearing loss.
Partners in Communications – The Partners in Communication program will connect you with a counselor who will provide information, advocacy and referral to you and your child from birth to age 18.