What Parents Can Do Right Now
You’ve just learned your child is deaf or hard of hearing. You’re overwhelmed, you have a thousand questions, and maybe you don’t even know what to ask. There’s a lot to learn, but take a deep breath and remember that you’re already taking the first step. Know that there are knowledgeable, experienced and caring professionals ready to help you and more resources available than ever before. There are also countless other families who have gone through this same experience and have found the right path to assure their child’s happiness and success.
Here are some suggestions for things you can do immediately to start helping your child. And don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us. Clarke professionals are happy to answer your questions, help you find the information you need, or just talk. Whatever you’re looking for, we are here to help.
“I just learned my child has a hearing loss. What do I do now?”
- Laugh, sing, talk, read to and play with your child. Your child needs more experience with sound – not less. Make a lot of noise. Have fun together. Try not to worry too much, enjoy being together and get to know each other.
- Talk to your pediatrician or audiologist about hearing aids for your child sooner rather than later. Children can be fit comfortably with hearing aids by three months of age, some sooner, but it is a process that takes awhile so get started soon. You will want to find an audiologist who has had a lot of experience with working with infants and their families and that may take a little searching. Newborns are ready to learn about the world through sensory impressions and hearing is important in providing them information about their environment and information about you and the sounds associated with you so begin early.
- Ask a lot of questions. Ask your child’s doctors about their experience with pediatric hearing loss. Ask the audiologist who tests your child’s hearing about options in hearing technologies, and why they recommend a particular solution for your child. When you’re choosing a program for your child, ask about literacy rates, where graduates go, and for references to other families. Answers to these questions will help you make a good choice for your child and family.
- Become an advocate for your child. There are many different approaches to ways to manage a hearing loss and educate children who are deaf and hard of hearing. You’ll want to make choices about the direction that’s right for your child and your family. You may also need to stand firm in your own beliefs about what you want, rather than accepting what’s offered.
- Get educated. There is a lot to know about hearing technologies, schooling options, your rights under the law and more. Fortunately, there are also a lot of organizations ready to help you find the information you need. You can learn a lot on Clarke’s website and also check out our Resources page for more suggestions.
If you want to learn more about auditory oral communication (which means teaching your child to listen and talk), contact us at Clarke. Our professionals have the knowledge and expertise needed to help you navigate your options and move forward in the direction that’s right for your child.