Every Client Counts
Counselling/Coaching for parents of Deaf/deafened children aims to promote understanding and collaboration among family members in order to solve the problems of one or more individuals. For example, if a child is having social and academic problems, therapy will focus on the family patterns that may contribute to the child’s acting out, rather than evaluating the child’s behaviour alone. As the family uncovers the source of the problem, they can learn to support the child and other family members and work proactively on minimising or altering the conditions that contribute to the child’s unwanted behaviour.
Key to the effective communication between the deaf child, parents, siblings and grandparents, is the emotional health and well-being of the family unit.
We can help with Counselling and Coaching for Parents of Deaf and Deafened Children
All the decisions we make for a child are based on the parents’ choices about what they want for their child. Parents need to be educated about the choices. How do we help educate parents? We need to help parents determine what their goals are for their child. In the beginning, most parents do not know anything about hearing loss and cannot even begin to figure this out. “Where do you want your child to be when they are 5? 10? 20? 30?” What the parent says gives us information about how we can help them plan for their child.
For example, if a parent says she wants her child to go to school with her siblings and the children on the block and be whatever they want to be when they grow up, we need to say, “What does it take to get there?” In order to be educated in a mainstream classroom, you need to be using listening and spoken language. If you want your child to go to college, they have a much better chance of succeeding if they are using listening in spoken language. We need to be honest when we talk about all of the differences in the possibilities for educating children with hearing loss. What are the different communication modes? What are the different educational options? They are not all the same. This is a topic for another conversation, but it is important that we are realistic about what the choices are and that we help parents understand what the different choices mean.
Families need to make their own decisions. “What is the goal for your child, and what does it take to get there?” We need to make sure that the decisions are the parents’ decisions and not our decisions. If we say, “You need this kind of hearing aid. Now you need a cochlear implant. Now you need to go to this educational program. Parents need to be empowered to make the decisions they need to make with educational support along the way. If we make the decisions, any successes or failures are attributed to us. If they make the decisions, they buy into figuring out what is best for that family. The family needs to learn to take responsibility for doing whatever needs to be done for a child to succeed.
When children get older, we, unfortunately, need to try to start helping them make decisions, and that is not an easy task. We need to help children understand the effect of not hearing. “What happens when you do not hear?” “What happens when you do not hear in school?” “What happens when you do not hear in social situations?” There are both short-term and long-term consequences. “You may think it is better today not to wear a hearing aid because people will see it, and then you will feel bad about what you look like. But what do people think when you cannot answer questions?” We need to help children understand that the decisions they make have consequences.
We do not believe that children are fully educated enough or wise enough to make decisions about whether they should use an FM or whether they should wear hearing aids. An 8-, 10-, or 12-year-old who is making that decision is not making it based on a full knowledge of the negative effect of not learning or on long-term goals. We need to be sure that we are helping children understand the impact of any decision they make.
Hazel is Deaf using BSL, SSE and Oral lip reading.
Verity uses BSL, SSE and Oral lip reading.
Victoria is Deaf she uses BSL, SSE and Oral communication
Johanna is Deaf, she uses ISL, BSL, SSE, ASL and Oral lip reading.
Matthew uses BSL, SSE and Oral lip reading.
Wendy is Deaf, she uses BSL, SSE and Oral lip reading
Sue is Deaf she uses BSL as her first language.
Jill uses BSL, SSE and oral lip reading.