There is no set way or best way to approach parenting any child.
Parenting is a process where one grows, learns, feels stumped, finds insight, and makes discoveries while treading its daily path. It can lead one to fulfilling highs as well as deep trenches of anxiety and worry.
Children are simultaneously delightful, challenging, and complex. Learning to parent is equally so.
Believe in your child’s future
If you have a child who has been diagnosed with Hearing Loss, realize that just because your child has this challenge to face does not necessarily mean that they will be less able to build quality friendships, participate at school and/or sport, or be able to achieve their dreams.
For your child to truly believe that they can succeed, you as a care giver can instill the belief that your child is a whole person already. Your child is not broken and they are not lacking!
Ensure they know this as well as others, including the children and adults who come into contact with them. Teach them to be ambitious and that with dedication and perseverance they can work to realize their goals of success!
Building a strong foundation of Self Confidence
It does not take long for a parent to realize that every child has their own distinct but often full sized personality. Many exceed the standard mould from the beginning and develop to the beat of their own drum. This can be especially true with children who experience life being differently-abled; physically or mentally.
Begin early in teaching your child that they are not required to be the same as everyone else and that life is not a competition. Doing one’s best is what is important and being different does not have to be and ought not to be perceived as something negative.
Help your child by highlighting and helping them discover special and unique parts of themselves; attributes which do not just require acceptance but which can be actively celebrated.
Show them they are SuperHEARoes!
Find relatable role models; seek out stellar examples of individuals who have overcome obstacles to show your child the possibilities available in the exact same way you would for a child who is not affected by hearing loss.
Sporting star SuperHEARoes such as Derrick Coleman an American football player have spoken out against any negative stigmas of hearing loss. To view an inspirational short video with close captioning click here.
Show your child examples of success to teach them that having a disability does not consign one to less fulfilment, lower quality of living standards, or less inner joy and fulfilment.
Make Normal Parenting a Priority
Practically speaking this means practicing fundamentals important to every parent such as:
– Setting appropriate goals for your child
– Instilling a sense of responsibility
– Teaching problem solving skills
– Establishing routines
– Encourage, Encourage, Encourage!
– Providing ample opportunities for good old fashioned play
It takes an Educated Village!
Don’t depend on only yourself to be everything and everyone to your child. Enlist the help of those around you by creating awareness about hearing loss. Education is important for your family which includes partners, siblings, step-parents, and grandparents among others. Education is also important for individuals who interact with your family often or spend time at your home such as your children’s playmates, family friends, and staff. Be sure not to forget those at school, recreational facilities, and/or places of worship. Support can take many different forms.
– protect your child both from environmental dangers such as fires for they may not hear auditory warnings
– build an environment where truth replaces misinformation or a general lack of knowledge
– increase empathy and create an environment which is inclusive
– decrease limiting labels being placed on your child
Support is available
Support groups can be a wonderful resource to seek advice, information or assistance along the way. Here is one specifically for Parents of Children with Cochlear Implants. Here is one for all BAHA users & for Baha Support Group (Southern Africa)
If you feel your child may benefit from specialized schooling here in South Africa, you may be interested to look into the Carol du Toit &/ Whispers Centres. These two schools are well-known for their fantastic work with children who have hearing loss or other disabilities.
Southern ENT acknowledges that the professional support team you and your family choose to walk with on this journey is important, as it is a Life-Long one. We have a dedicated team of hearing professionals who train and support other healthcare professionals to offer the best service and care to you.
For any information or advice, please call our offices on 011 667 6243