Guide to Parents & their Role

Guide to Parents

Guide to Parents of Childrens with Hearing Impairment

Especially for a Child Hearing Impairment

  • Encourage your child to wear the hearing aid for all his waking hours.
  • The child should be exposed to only one language until he develops his basic language skills (a second language can be introduced at the appropriate time)
  • Face your child while speaking
  • Talk to the child all the time in a natural manner and give him adequate time and opportunity to express himself.
  • Don't avoid talking to the child assuming that he will not understand.
  • Encourage him to attend to you when you speak
  • Your imitation of your child's utterances is extremely useful in encouraging him to speak.
  • Talk to your child in simple short sentences.
  • Encourage your child to imitate your speech/lip movements as it facilitates his attempts to speak.

How to help your child learn to talk

  • Spend more time with your child
  • Talk, Talk, and Talk with the child.
  • Talk clearly, talk slowly, talk naturally and meaningfullly.
  • Talk to him about everything in your surroundings as daily life situations provide good opportunities for your child to learn to speak.
  • Label objects/situations in the environment as it helps the child to learn words.
  • Repeat what you say meaningfully.
  • Provide a need to talk, encourage him to talk.
  • Reward your child's attempt to talk.
  • Discourage others from talking for the child.
  • Describe what you are doing while you are doing it.
  • Become a kind of COMMENTATOR by narrating his activities. for example: If he is playing with a car, you might say "Oh, you have a car", "The car is big". "Now you are pushing the car". "There goes the car".
  • Encourage him to ask questions.
  • Use simple words and sentences.
  • Use pictures and objects to teach words and sentences.
  • Tell stories to the child
  • Make sure that the child watches, attends and listens to you.
  • Read aloud to the child
  • Sing to and with the child
  • Dance along with the child.
  • Help him to become aware of sounds and noises in his surroundings e.g. voices, noisy games, door bell, pressure cooker, telephone ring, sound produced by animals etc.

"That is a dog... It says, Bow-Bow". He will enjoy watching your facial expression and hearing your voice as you imitate the sound.

Ask the child "What does the dog say?"

"He may try to answer by saying ‘bu-bu’ or-------. Encourage this vocalization by imitating it and repeating the imitations." (A smile, touch or caress will encourage him to imitate once more)

Similarly you can show him a cow, a cat or a crow and tell him to imitate that particular animal’s cries and action…. e.g.

A cow says: amma….

A cat says: Meow… meow….

A crow says: Kaa…. Kaa..

Most children enjoy playing this miming game and it also helps to bring their attention to your face & an opportunity to listen to your voice.

  • When the child is playing with toys, e.g. a car or a train or a set of block, tell your child. "Let’s drive the car. How does the car go? Burr…."
  • Bring his attention to your voice by emphasizing on ‘Listening’.
  • Mirrors can be used for encouraging vocalization and imitation.
  • Encourage him to mix with other children.
  • Provide the child with opportunities to talk
  • Have him tell you stories.
  • Take time to listen.
  • Explain new words.
  • Maintain a diary of what you are doing and what the child is achieving.
  • Meet, talk to and share your experiences with other parents.
  • Consult professionals periodically for guidance.
  • Don’t compare him with his brothers and sisters and other children of his age.
  • Don’t under estimate his abilities.
  • Let your child do things by himself, let him explore the environment and learn.
  • Don’t over protect or reject him. Don’t be inconsistent in your attitude.
  • Don’t teach him too much at a time.
  • Don’t exaggerate your lip and tongue movements while speaking.
  • Don’t criticize your child if his speech is not perfect/clear.
  • Don’t interrupt him while he is talking.Don’t be over demanding.
  • Don’t over correct your child.

More than anything, remember that he is your child and like any other child needs your love and affection.

Role of Parents

Family is the primary unit in the life of an individual. Parents are the pillars of this unit.

Parents and family need to fulfill certain responsibilities in order to function. A family must generate income, protect and maintain its members and home, nurture and love one another and see to it that children are taught social norms and educated. When a child is handicapped, these responsibilities become more crucial.. There is the expense, the time, the energy needed to care for the disabled member and his safety. Besides this there is the difficulty of helping the disabled member develop a good self-image and social skills, and the problems of seeing to it that the disabled member receives an appropriate education. Every ordinary task becomes more difficult and more stressful.

As per the Eugenics Movement (1880-1930) assumed parents to be the underlying source of the child's physical, emotional or intellectual disability. A primary goal of this movement was to remove human flaws by regulating human reproduction. Towards the end of the 19th century, through research it was found that some disabilities/conditions are genetically passed on to the child by the parents. But, predicting before pregnancy whether or not a parent will pass on to the child some genetically linked disability is often difficult, if not impossible.

However, in the vast majority of children with disabilities, no genetic cause can be identified. Yet, blaming the parents when children are born with these conditions seldom leads to productive parent – professional interactions. Some times, tracing the cause of disability to some factor related to the parents may prove helpful towards diagnosis and prevention of similar cases in future.

Parent's reaction to the birth of a child with disabilities varies widely. While somewhat speculative, 3 to 7 emotional stages of parents are usually identified. They are as (a) feelings of shock and disbelief; (b) denial; (c) anger and guilt or depression; and (d) a shift from self-absorption to concentrating on now to deal with the child's needs. Whether all parents experience all these stages is still controversial, as is the exact sequence of stages.

With the above in view parents of the disabled take on multiple roles, which are not separate and distinct from one another, nor do they fall into distinct chronological periods. Rather, they often overlap and share common elements.

Parents as Implementers of Professional Advice:

A widely held assumption during 1970s was that parents should conscientiously implement decisions made by the professionals. If a child was not making satisfactory progress in the special education program, it was often assumed that the parents were not assuming their responsibility for implementing the program at home. The "myth of professional omnipotence" or the assumption that professionals, by virtue of their specialized training and technical expertise, have the ability to make wise decisions about other people's lives has slowly disintegrated. The recent age therapists and educators have accepted the potential of parents. Parents are now active partners in not only implementing of professional advice but also plan out and carry out the same at home.

Parents as Service Providers:

Parents' groups serve as a mechanism through which parents give each other mutual support and share information. Parents' initiated and supported efforts often at great personal expense has won the legal right to free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, better conditions in residential facilities and integrated vocational, residential and recreational services in the community, provisions for better financial security.

Parents as Teachers:

As mentioned earlier since 1970s a great emphasis has been placed on the role of parents as teachers and members of the multidisciplinary team. Here parents are provided training to make them more resourceful and for better involvement.

Parents as Political Advocates:

The development of parents' organisations evolved from small, local support groups of parents to national professional organisations. The primary function of many parent organisations has changed from providing direct services to advocating for political, legal, economic and social change.

Parents as Family Members:

Professionals are becoming more aware of the necessity to consider the needs and roles played by all members of the family with a child with disabilities. It has been recognized that family has a value in developing and implementing programs for the disabled member. It is also realized that family members have much to offer professionals. They often have unique insights gleaned from their day-to-day experiences living with the member with disability.

Role of the Family

Throughout history and across culture the family has been the primary agency for survival. Although the forms of families vary, the tasks are universal. Parents or parent surrogates cross all cultures assured the responsibility for transmitting to their offspring their competencies required by the social, economic and political forces of their society or social group. The family constitutes the parents but also the siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts and other extended family. Hence, the major responsibilities of families can be listed as follows:

  • The economic responsibilities to generate income and provide financial support for living costs and related payments.
  • The domestic and health care responsibility, to meet the daily needs of food, clothes, health and medical care and safety.
  • The recreational responsibility to provide leisure environment and activities.
  • The responsibility for self-identity to increase each family member's sense of belonging.
  • The affectionate responsibility to show and share love, care, emotional feelings and companionship.
  • The responsibility for socialization to develop social skills and enhance interpersonal relationships.
  • The educational and vocational responsibility to assist and support schooling and career & selection and preparation.
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