With the new school year on the way, you might be wondering how you can help your child make friends and reach social milestones. The good news is that there are things you can do as parents to support your children, with or without hearing loss, in the development of social skills that will help them foster friendships, and positively interact with classmates. Keep reading to learn our tips.
The new school year can bring about many emotions for you as a parent. Excitement, hope, and worry are a just a few feelings that come to mind. And while most of these emotions pertain to your child’s learning journey, there’s one area that can bring more nerves than others; wondering if your child will make new friends. Hear from Marge Edwards, Community Coordinator for the Hearing First Family Support Community about her experience raising sons with hearing loss and helping them develop the social and conversational skills for making friends.
What about friends? As a parent of two boys with hearing loss, I can honestly say that the friendship question has been my biggest source of anxiety. Initially, I feared that my sons would struggle to hear their peers and would miss important conversational and social cues. I also worried they would feel isolation from friends in noisy environments. My greatest fear, though, was that they would be bullied because of their hearing aids and hearing loss. We had some struggles along the way but both boys, now 20 and 14, have built lasting friendships and are involved in a variety of academic, athletic, employment and social activities.
Looking back, I am glad that I was motivated to do everything possible to support my sons from an early age. Hearing loss does make listening harder, and it’s worth taking extra steps to make sure your child has opportunities to learn and practice the right skills in the right environments. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years for building strong foundational social and conversational skills that will help your child form lasting friendships:
The Early Years
The School Years
The good news is that you can build these skills right at home and in your own community. In fact, your community of friends, teachers and LSL professionals will become your child’s best advocates when they join you in fostering your child’s lifelong friendships.
For more tips to help your child foster friendships, join the Family Support Community and meet other families who are walking the same LSL path as you!
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