It’s that time of year when parties are a-plenty. Just a quick reminder of how to help your deaf/hard of hearing child!
*At large gatherings, using place cards will help all kids (not just the ones with hearing loss) make the connection between a person’s name and face. Seat the guest who is deaf/hh with his/her back to the window; this makes it easier to lip read. If your guest is communicates using sign or cued speech, try to seat him/her near someone else with that skill.
*Try not to have large centerpieces that block the view of faces or hands so its’ easier to read a speakers lips.
*Dim lighting might be nice for setting the mood, but can be difficult for lip reading.
*Background music can make it difficult for someone with a hearing loss to understand the conversation. If you want to play music, seat the person who is deaf/hh away from the music speakers.
*Ask your guests to turn their heads to your child so they can be a participant. And remind to not speak with food in their mouth!
*Encourage all your guests to take turns talking so the conversation is easier to follow.
*Playing games that encourage turn taking keeps everyone involved in the party. Choose games where you don’t shout out answers.
*Talk to your child ahead of time. Discuss what will be happening that day and the people they will be seeing/meeting.
*Sometimes its helpful to come up with a non-verbal cue your child can give you if they are having a difficult time understanding conversation, or if they are feeling overwhelmed. Give them the language/cues ahead of time to use when they need it.