Over the years I have spoken with numerous parents, from a personal as well as a professional perspective and while every family responds differently to a hearing loss diagnosis, there are also some characteristics that more successful families share.
Adjust Your Attitude
I have written about this before, but your attitude and acceptance of your child’s hearing loss goes a long way to creating a more peaceful climate for everyone. Children are really good at sensing the moods of others. If you are stressed and tense all the time about your child’s diagnosis, your child will begin to feel that there is something not good about their hearing loss.
Yoshinaga-Itano and Abdala de Uzcategui, (2001) have shown that parents of children with mild to moderate hearing loss are often more stressed than parents of children with more profound losses. Reasons can be they face more educational and therapeutic choices; also there is the potential that their child will have further hearing loss which can be stressful.
While I understand these stresses, having been through them, I also know the power of practicing a positive attitude.
Talk About It
Get real comfortable talking about your child’s hearing loss. When your child sees how easily you talk about hearing loss they will feel more comfortable about themselves.
If you don’t talk about and discuss hearing loss with your child then they will be uncomfortable discussing it with other people. They won’t know how to answer questions, or how to speak up when their needs aren’t being met.
Keep Things in Perspective
Yes, your child has hearing loss and no; it is not the end of the world. Yes, your child will need assistance with communication either through a device (such as hearing aids or cochlear implants), or through the learning of ASL or lip-reading. But the opportunities today are limitless.
Move Beyond “Why Me?”
If you are okay with your child’s hearing loss, they will be okay. There will be some changes that will need to be made with regard to education and communication needs, but what won’t change is the need your child has for love and support. Find the joy in your child’s voice, or the thrill of having them sign their first full thought. It’s about adapting and coming to terms with the child you have, rather than the child you don’t have.