However, a little bit of planning and thought can make a big difference for your child. This blog post will outline the steps that can help families support their children this summer.
A lot of summer activities that are fun for other kids can be stressful for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. This stress can be triggered because they don't have full access to the activity or the planning, people or background information to understand or anticipate it. This might mean that they do not understand where you are going, who you are with, or can fully access the conversation and fun that is happening around them. This can especially be an issue when there are big groups of people involved. This can cause stress and frustration for your child, which can impact the full event and everyone involved.
Parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing can easily support and help their child this summer when it comes to minimizing triggers that can make fun events turn stressful.
To do this, consider each summer activity and what you need to enjoy it. Does your child know what is going to happen ahead of time? Do they know who will be there and who those people are?
Preparing your child ahead of time by talking about upcoming events, reading books and showing pictures of who and what they can expect at the event can help prepare your child for your upcoming activity.
Consider the event in general. What skills does your child need to benefit from the experience? Does the activity rely heavily on hearing? If so, how will your child be able to access the event? What will your child need to communicate? And, will your child have access to someone who understands their needs?
Talking through potential situations and role-playing how to approach them is helpful for your child. In addition, thinking ahead of phrases your child may want or need to communicate ahead of time, and practicing when and where to use them, can help your child build appropriate social and communication skills.
Here are some challenges that your child may face during summer activities that can create stress instead of fun.
These are just a few examples of some difficulties that may occur. Another important aspect to consider is not only acknowledging these difficulties but also understanding your child’s reaction to them. Everyone is different in how they respond to stress, but effective communication and preparation can significantly affect the outcome. Instead of feeling isolated or frustrated by lack of communication, your child can be properly equipped to manage the stress as it comes, which allows them to feel included and have more fun.
Proper preparation can really pay off when you think about the possible challenges that your child may face. It is a lot to think about, but you can do it! Thinking about it now will avoid worrying about it later.
Now that you have considered the event and how to prepare your child for it, consider these additional logistics that can impact the success of the activity.
Here are a few more ideas to help your child enjoy their summer and the special events you have planned.
There can be more aspects to consider, but these are the main points to acknowledge when determining the state of the surroundings and how to prepare your child for upcoming events. Some activities create barriers for a child with hearing loss because their access to that event or activity becomes extremely limited. Following these tips will help reduce these barriers.
Hopefully this blog post is helpful in your journey to a fun-filled summer for you and your family. If you are looking for more support and trainings in meeting the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing, plus a community of other families on the same journey, check out the FRIEND Academy. The FRIEND Academy stands for Family Resources, Information and Education for Navigating the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Journey. It will give you the road map and tools to help you along the way. Join Here.
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