Tips for fathers and professionals to help facilitate spoken language skills in young children with hearing loss

Father_s_day [1490963]

Dear Dads,

You play a very vital role in the development of your little ones. When you are around your child, the child feels much more secure and protected. As a therapist, I would like to acknowledge all your efforts in helping your child to be a strong individual in his/her life, especially on this Father’s Day.

Tips on how you can contribute in a better manner towards the speech and language development of your child:

  • The male voice is naturally at a lower frequency as compared to a female voice. Hence, your natural low pitch gives an opportunity for children with hearing loss to acquire a good base of suprasegmentals through your voice. Therefore, the golden rule for you is to sing, sing and sing to your child.
  • Since the mother gets tired of all the household chores during the day, you can take the initiative for a bed time story telling session with your child. This gives you a good opportunity to share some special moments with your little one and foster a stronger bond between you both.
  • One of the principles of Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) states that to guide and coach parents so that they can help children to integrate listening and spoken language skills into all aspects of their lives. To make the learning experience more natural, joyful, meaningful and fun at home, you can easily supplement the lessons learnt by your child in the therapy sessions by taking your family out during weekends for picnics, jungle safaris, farmhouse visits or even to beach fronts.
  • If you are unable to visit your child’s therapy centre frequently, do try to go at least once a month to meet the professionals involved with your child and to attend guidance and counselling sessions / workshops organised by the centre.
  • Research done by AVT’s in India has concluded that families where there is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife overcome the grief of knowing the fact that their child has a hearing loss in a better way. So, be very supportive of your spouse.

Tips for Professionals to encourage the father’s involvement :

As per the national survey of over 262 fathers of children with hearing loss conducted by Dr. K. Todd Houston, PhD, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, following are the conclusions:

  • Treat fathers as equal partners in the parenting process.
  • Give flexibility of appointments as per their
  • Don’t ignore fathers during meetings. Make eye contact with them, ask them how they are coping and look for ways to support them in the process.
  • Be unbiased in your recommendations.
  • Be sensitive & empathetic to the father’s situation.
  • Don’t make assumptions about the father’s role or level of interest.
  • Provide father-specific information / materials like websites, books or support materials which can help them.
  • Help them to connect with other families with hearing impaired children, especially their fathers and also advocates.
  • Discuss and explain latest technology.
  • Be sensitive to religious and cultural differences.

Wishing all fathers a Happy Father’s Day and hope you have a wonderful journey full of beautiful surprises with your children.

With Warm Regards,

Ritu Nakra

LSLS Cert. AVT

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