Family Pages: Hearing Impairment
If you are interested in developing your communication skills with your child by learning sign language, there are great courses available online. Some have a small cost whilst others are free, why not take advantage:
A great way to engage your child in reading, enhance their literacy and improve their vocabulary is through sharing stories with them. Using signed stories can break down barriers faced by Deaf children. They are a great interactive experience.
Activities for listening and talking
There is a multitude of advice and activities available online to help families embrace their child and help them develop. Talking to them, playing with them and even simply singing are all ways in which you can engage with your child, have fun and help them learn. The Elizabeth foundation can assist with its’ ‘Let’s listen and talk’ programme. Alternatively you can access singing hands which shares songs with families using Makaton.
You could listen to music and encourage your child to dance, move and express themselves freely. Feeling the vibrations from speakers can stimulate their senses, or being bare foot on a hard floor allows them to feel the vibrations through their feet. Lots of children and young people love to listen and feel music despite having a hearing loss.
Whether your child has been newly aided or has been using Cochlear implants for several years, manufacturers of hearing devices and technology offer a wider range of support, from family friendly advice, information on how to support speech development to information about equipment and how to help your child in school.
Many schools are moving towards more learning online. This may be difficult for pupils with a hearing loss to access, maybe the video goes too fast or the voice is muffled. However there are some online platforms which make changes to be more inclusive, offering subtitles or BSL interpretations.
It is important that all our children are able to live a full and active life. Often giving them access to technology such as radio aids or making adaptions to the home like adding soft furnishings can make a huge difference to the quality of life they have. This should not be limited by financial status. There are organisations and charities who will support families with grants. The NDCS are happy to support applications for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and can give information about other grants available. If you want to make a claim and are asked for a supporting letter from a professional, please contact your Teacher of the Deaf.
The National Deaf Children’s society has a wealth of experience and is able to organise support and give information at a local and national level. They run workshops allowing families to share experiences and organise activity days and residentials enabling pupils to socialise with other hearing impaired children. They have a wealth of information on their webpages providing resources which can be printed out and links to the latest information from health organisations. They offer a scheme for families to borrow technological devices and trial them in their own homes before purchasing them, this is called the Technology test drive. They also have specific pages for young adults, The Buzz, where they can share their views via Vlogs and get involved with campaigns to promote deaf awareness.