The possibilities for babies today who are diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing to learn listening and spoken language (LSL) are very real. However, not all children diagnosed with hearing loss are newborns. Many are diagnosed well after their first birthday. Some children also have challenges in addition to their hearing loss. While their LSL journey may be a bit different, most children can learn communication skills in the same language spoken in your family home. These challenges can be turned into opportunities for your child to reach their full potential.
A diagnosis of hearing loss is often a shock and unexpected for most parents. Many parents report feelings of loss and grief as they try to understand what the hearing loss means and figure out what they should do next. If your child is diagnosed well after birth, you may have other questions such as “Will my child do well with a LSL approach even if they were diagnosed later?” and “What about early brain development and the critical window of opportunity?”
While there are many factors to consider, the decision-making journey is the same:
Watch as Marcia seeks the best LSL outcome for her daughter Malia.
Approximately 40% of children with hearing loss have one or more challenges in addition to hearing loss. This means that many parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are also experiencing decision-making at many different points of the journey. You may be dealing with many different professionals and navigating schedules for multiple intervention appointments. The opportunities for you to meet these challenges is to learn some skills that will help you keep up with the complexity of what you have to do:
“Seeing the progress that David has made, we’re tremendously optimistic. If you’re willing to work hard, and if your children are willing to work hard, you’ll be OK.”
As your child enters school, they may need to continue LSL services, have other needs that require different kinds of support, or be enrolled in a mainstream classroom with support. Your child might also be enrolled in a classroom to meet their needs in all aspects of development. They may receive intervention services during the school day with a teacher of the deaf, speech-language pathologist, or physical therapist.
If this is the case, and you have been working toward a LSL outcome, you’ll need to learn about the process of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and the team of professionals who’ll assess your child and develop goals for their IEP. As a part of that team, you’ll speak on behalf of your child’s needs. As an advocate, you’ll want to make sure that your child’s listening and spoken language needs are addressed at all times when at school.
This means you'll help teachers and other school personnel learn about your child's hearing loss and hearing device(s), as well as provide information on strategies you've found helpful to your child.You’ll need to provide the school team with a current assessment report and keep them updated by sharing audiological assessments and recommendations.
Communicating with your educational team at the school will help your child have a better school experience.
Having a child with hearing loss can put a strain on your family relationships. You and a spouse or significant other may cope with the challenges of hearing loss in different ways. If you have other children, the responsibility to maintain a balance of care for all of your children can also be a challenge.
Here are some ideas to consider as you think about your own family and the challenges you face:
There are no specific promises that every child and family who chooses a LSL outcome will learn to listen, talk, read at grade level, and do well in school. There are circumstances that make that possibility a bigger challenge for some families. However, many families who have walked the LSL journey with a full commitment to the approach have seen their child learn to communicate in their home language and joyfully participate in family life.
Getting Through Your Grief →
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