Language & Communication19th July 2015

Parity in the Home and Good Lines of Communication Build Lasting Memories

A few small steps can be a big difference to a Deaf child feeling valued

by Tami Hossler

With BSL and English

Your Child CAN...

      Learn!

           Thrive!

                Succeed!

At last summer is here and children are home from school. So how can parents use this time to create a real connection with their deaf child and create memories that can be re-lived with them many years down the road? You might think the answer will be revealed below in a list of creatively planned activities; however, the answer is far from that. The answer is quite simple. The key to lasting memories lies in communication.     

Let’s face it, well-planned activities can and will fail if your child can't be part of the conversations that take place during family activities. Deaf children in hearing families can easily become “unintentionally” left out of the daily banter or discussions. True meaningful communication takes commitment. Commitment involves taking the actions necessary no matter the energy it takes. 

The first step is committing to taking classes in BSL if signing skills need improvement. The second step is establishing “ground rules for communication” within the family and home.  And the third step is facilitating conversations so that they flow smoothly whether it is around the dinner table, at gatherings or events, or just simply hanging out. 

Ground Rules:

1.       Sign in the presence of your deaf child even when you are not talking directly to him or her. They need to see your conversations in order to feel included at all times.  They need to know what is being said.  Only seeing the expressions on people’s faces is not enough.

2.       Provide access to the immediate conversation while it is happening and not a relayed short version of what was said. 

3.       Ensure family members understand turn taking and signaling who is talking. 

4.       Set up accessible lighting and technology within your home.  Knowing when the phone or doorbell is ringing shows that all family members are valued. 

It’s amazing how a solid commitment to ensuring your deaf child feels connected is the catalyst for building memories that last a lifetime. 

Tami Hossler
‚Äč(Tami has two grown daughters, one hearing and one deaf. Tami is the editor of the Endeavor magazine.)

Tami is the Editor of the American Deaf Society of Deaf Children's magazine - The Endeavor. The magazine focuses on issues of importance to families, with varied topics as special family members, transition, and deaf culture, along with  regular reports of ASDC’s activities, editorials, national news, calendars of upcoming events, stories of family experiences, advertisements for specialised products and services and news from ASDC affiliates. The Endeavor is published three times a year and mailed to all ASDC members. If you are interested in writing an article for The Endeavor, contact editor Tami Hossler.

 

Article by Tami Hossler

posted in Community / Language & Communication

19th July 2015