Validate Frustration While remaining positive is critical, children with hearing loss also must know that their parents actually listen to their concerns and frustrations. [...] parents must develop good listening skills, and often this means simply allowing their children the opportunity to share their feelings or to talk about issues that bother them. Additionally, children with hearing loss should have the opportunity to meet and socialize with other children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Because of the relatively low incidence, a child may think that she is the only person her age experiencing hearing loss.
These two boys agreed with a third Cheryl K. Olson, ScD is an inter- at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ol- that seeing kissing in a game was nationally known expert on health son recently led a two-year, $1.5 okay at age 15. behavior change and the effects of million research project to study media on teens. She is co-director how and why adolescents use After all, boys know they aren’t electronic games, funded by the and co-founder of the Center for going to save Earth from an alien Office of Juvenile Justice and De- Mental Health and Media in the invasion or machine-gun gangs of linquency Prevention, U.S. Depart- Department of Psychiatry at Mas- bad guys... but they will eventually ment of Justice. She has published sachusetts General Hospital, and a have to face girls. articles on teen behavior. member of the psychiatry faculty Explaining Deafness to Your Child with Hearing Loss By K. Todd Houston, PhD, CCC-SLP, Cert. AVT When a child is born, parents—by feel prepared to discuss the diag- For example, if the child’s hearing nature—are filled with joy and nosis with their child and struggle loss worsens and a new diagnosis happiness over the arrival of the with knowing when and how to is obtained, the parents may ex- new addition to the family. In the successfully address the situation perience many of the same emo- child, parents see an unbridled within the family. tions once again. When the child future full of opportunity and transitions from one educational hope. When the infant or toddler Emotional Impact of Child’s program to another—such as go- receives a diagnosis of sensorineu- Deafness ing from preschool to kindergarten ral (permanent) hearing loss, the Parents often describe leaving the —parents must inform a new set parents’ image of that child’s fu- pediatric audiologist’s or physi- of educators about their child’s ture is altered. The parents may cian’s office feeling numb and not diagnosis. In doing so, parents re- experience a sense of loss that remembering any of the informa- live what has happened with their parallels that of a death; at that tion that was shared. The only child. Thus, during these times of moment in time, the parents’ vi- thing they describe recalling is the transition, parents may be espe- sion of the child’s future has just initial diagnosis indicating their cially vulnerable to a resurgence died. In its place is an unknown child is “deaf.” They have difficulty of emotions. void. Before parents are ready to recalling most of the information openly discuss deafness with their that follows. The diagnosis sends While acceptance of the child’s child, they must first learn to deal parents on a physical and emo- hearing loss is a long-term goal, with their own emotions. tional rollercoaster. Professional perhaps a better way to approach counselors describe parents as the situation is through an ongoing Today, research shows that ap- going through various emotional process of adjustment and adapta- proximately 95% of parents of stages—sadness, anger, denial, tion. Parents need a strong support children diagnosed with perma- depression—until they eventually system that is often comprised of nent hearing loss are hearing arrive at a level of acceptance with trusted professionals and service themselves. That is, both parents the diagnosis. providers, extended family mem- typically have normal hearing, and bers, and most impo
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