Independence of children with hearing defects

2022-10-17
Independence of children with hearing defects

Don’t take away their power!

Hearing loss or deafness is not a verdict. A child who is deaf or has a hearing loss can also be happy and satisfied. The condition is that the child must be independent. How to help a child in this?

Have you dreamed of having a healthy and happy baby? I’ve dreamed. I already had one and was waiting for the second child. Finally, Hela was born! The most beautiful, wonderful and... deaf. A disabled child. I didn't believe the diagnosis. I was denying the reality. I just needed someone to blame. I felt grief, anger and pain. I had to go through the entire grieving process, in which I was saying goodbye to my cherished image of an ideal child - a normal hearing child.

Have you dreamed of having a healthy and happy baby? I’ve dreamed. I already had one and was waiting for the second child. Finally, Hela was born! The most beautiful, wonderful and... deaf. A disabled child. I didn't believe the diagnosis. I was denying the reality. I just needed someone to blame. I felt grief, anger and pain. I had to go through the entire grieving process, in which I was saying goodbye to my cherished image of an ideal child - a normal hearing child.

The path to accepting a hearing defect

Initially, I consulted a psychologist. After several meetings, I was motivated to act. However, I was still looking for support and found it in a group of parents of children with various hearing impairments. We helped each other by sharing concerns and information. Following a similar pattern as other parents, I provided Hela with the best physical therapists and took her to classes 3-4 times a week.

I was organizing two-hour trips with the baby to therapists, which ended with Hela crying or falling asleep from fatigue. I was extremely determined. I wanted so much to help her "make up" for the deficiencies resulting from her deafness and "compensate" for her hearing defect. I was tormenting both her and myself. It didn't work out well for anyone.

The path to independence for a deaf child

Today I know I wanted "too much."
Now I know that by burdening her with additional activities, I was working against myself and my daughter. Reducing the number of classes and building a closer relationship would be better for both of us.
Currently, I know that by practising so much with Hela and supporting her development, I could focus my attention on her. I was excessively trying to pay her my attention.
I also know that I unconsciously required the whole family to do all the things for Hela because she already has it harder than others.
Now Hela is 10 years old, and I’ve just stopped. It came to me. I reminded myself of my goal of education: INDEPENDENCE, HAPPINESS, FULFILLMENT. I see that by being overprotective, I was making her WEAK! I still feel an excessive need to control her life, to support and be close - just in case... But I remind myself that Hela has to make mistakes and learn from them. She needs it to become independent.

What can be helpful in PE classes and on the field?

I realized that I would not protect Hela from accidents. I also realized that I would not protect her speech processors from destruction. I've heard of several situations where children have flushed their processors down the toilet while in mum's care. Fortunately, cochlear implants/speech processors and hearing aids can now be protected in various ways. There are a lot of supporting accessories:

In addition, both implants and hearing aids can be insured. After applying such measures, I felt so calm that I decided to make Hela responsible for her cochlear implant. I taught her to take care of the speech processors and change the batteries in them. I also practised with her the correct reactions in different conditions like putting on a hood when it rains. I’ve given her freedom. It makes both of us feel happy and secure.

What can be helpful at the swimming pool?

We also didn’t cancel swimming lessons, although I’ve heard that many parents did so because of fear of damaging their speech processors or hearing aids. If you are considering skipping swimming lessons, stop for a while. Find a solution to the problem of equipment protection and don't limit your child's activities. On the contrary, support and develop it. At the swimming pool, you can take advantage of solutions that will make you feel safer.

The following aqua accessories are currently available:

Moreover, you can talk to the rescuer about your child's hearing loss or deafness and ask him to be attentive in communicating with them. You can also believe that even if your child can't hear, he will cope by imitating others. And the child will be very proud! Children have a need for independence.

What can be helpful on the road?

Over-protectiveness takes away children's self-confidence. If you relieve them of responsibilities, they hear: "I'll do it for you because you can't handle it." Send your child to daycare, kindergarten, classes, friends and camps. Let them live like hearing children! Because of disability, a child needs independence and courage of life.

I still remind myself of it. My 10-year-old daughter recently started walking home from school on her own. I have huge concerns about whether anything will happen to her. I'm afraid that she might not hear the moving car... After many talks to make her aware of how to behave on the road, I equipped her with reflectors to make her more visible and let her go... I grit my teeth and believe that she will manage.

And because of this new experience for us, we are giving out joyful reflective soft snail pendants at SmartEAR. You can add a snail to your order for free with every purchase at www.smartear.eu. It's a snail for your child. Attach it to your backpack or your jacket zipper. Let it make your child visible to drivers and see their independence on the road!  

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