1 Talk about the hearing loss, its implications, amplification devices, care for the devices with your children. There is nothing to hide. You should handle your child’s device with a pride and not with guilt. This reflects on your child and gives him strength to face any situation in public. Let your children understand the handling of device. You need to trust them and be patient with them.
2 It is important to promote communication between the siblings. We often feel that our hearing impaired child will not be able to make our hearing child understand his / her needs and hence we come in-between them as translators. Give them a chance and encourage their communication. They always find their own ways to do so which may even lead to special surprises for you.
3 We need to acknowledge and praise positive and collaborative behaviors. Whenever they are playing together build a positive environment around them where each one gets his own space and praise. Siblings have a fun relationship. Kids learn more while playing, as at that time they are not being taught. Their willingness to learn is enhanced.
4 We need to try to understand the feelings behind a certain act. When siblings complaint, don’t jump into conclusions. It is important to explore the reason behind that complaint. Usually our hearing impaired children get advantage in these situations. But we need to do a fair justice.
5 It is extremely important to schedule time alone with your hearing child. We often get so involved in the care of our hearing impaired child that we forget the needs of our hearing child. Sometimes you can go alone with your hearing child to make him / her feel special too.
6 Modeling is an important tool for teaching, not just for hearing impaired children but for all kids. This tool can be used most effectively when we involve siblings in our lesson plans.
7 The world doesn’t operate as planned but we adults have a tendency to plan and stick to our plans. Unplanned surprise angles give an added edge and provide a more realistic learning than any planned lesson. Siblings can provide that variety and break the monotony of learning.
8 Speed is as important as the lesson itself. Siblings build a healthy sense of competition which raises the learning curve exponentially. Create fairly competitive games around your lesson plans and you’ll be amazed at the speed at which your child picks up.
To conclude, I would like to assert not to consider siblings as a hindrance to their learning but a much welcome support provided by God himself. Those who don’t have siblings need not lose heart. The same can be simulated by inviting their friends over and involving them in your lesson plans.
Nirmit Goel mother of Prisha Goel