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Social Skills Development In Your Deaf Child Preparing To Enter Mainstream

Urvashi Shah
7 to 11 years

Created by Urvashi Shah
Updated on Sep 02, 2021

Social Skills Development In Your Deaf Child Preparing To Enter Mainstream
Reviewed by Expert panel

We are not born with social skills and learn them right from the time we are born, by imitating others around us. As we start becoming aware of people, we develop social skills in us from time to time. This is the kind of learning, which begins right from the day we are born and goes until the end of our lives. Social skills are easy at first, when a child is young and the skills become dynamic as the child grows. A child can pick up social skills with an ease, but differently able children have a tough time in doing so. In case of a deaf child, learning social skills becomes tough due to the physical constraints they have. This is why they rely up on their immediate relatives, such as family members to help them develop social skills while growing up.

Deafness Makes It Tough To Learn Social Skills

Children who can hear learn a lot about the world by listening to whatever goes around them, picking up skills from time to time. Most of the social skills aren’t taught to them directly, but they learn to pick up from their surroundings, by listening and talking to each other. But children who cannot hear miss out on a lot of information. These children find it tough on how to behave with other people. They fail to understand why people behave in a certain way.

This problem arises as a deaf child is unable to communicate with other people accurately. Such children end up misbehaving, getting frustrated and agitated, which in turn causes other children to abandon them. Thus, a deaf child needs a helping hand in learning how to communicate with others, how to cooperate and how to control their behaviour.

Social skills development in a deaf child is essential, which will help the child fight his/her own battles as they grow up. As parents you can emphasize various social skills if your child cannot hear. Below are some tips on how to develop social skills in a deaf child-

  1. Help your child communicate his/her feelings:

    A child who cannot talk about his/her feelings will end up acting them instead. Your child may get angry, throw things or put on a tantrum in order to vent out frustration, which is why you need to help him/her learn to express his/her feelings in a different way. Look for opportunities to teach your child signs and words for strong emotions
  2. Reward good behaviour:

    When a child behaves well, he/she gets appreciated by people around. You need to reward or praise your child when he/she displays good behaviour, which will encourage him/her to keep up with it. Teaching good behaviour to a deaf child takes patience and hard work but at the end it will be a positive thing that will bring a positive change in your child
  3. Let your child know ‘why’:

    It is easier for children to do something you ask if they know why they should do it. But young children who cannot hear well may not know enough words or signs to understand 'why', parents often find it easier just to tell them what to do. If children do not understand why they have to do something, they can become frustrated
  4. Making change easier:

    Transitions can be difficult for children who cannot hear and they may get upset or frustrated to switch from one home to another or even leave playing midway to take a bath. They are not adapted to the basic routine. Until they learn to expect a chain of daily activities and become comfortable with this, children may struggle with the ordinary routines of the day. Once they get used to a routine, even a minor change may get them feel frustrated. To make going out in public easier, it may help if you explain to your child where you are going before you go. For example, show him/her your basket to help him/her understand you are going to the market
  5. Help your child learn to make decisions:

    If you or others keep telling the child what to do and what not to do, he/she will not be able to make decisions in future also. This is why you need to teach your child to learn to make decisions right from a young age. This will help your child become confident, which will allow him/her to participate in various activities without hesitation. Start from the basics, like allowing your child to decide what he/she wants to eat, drink, wear or what to do for the day. If a deaf child wants to make a decision but cannot tell you what he/she wants or likes, try asking him/her questions to help him/her communicate what he/she would like to do

Everybody can help a deaf child in socialization by making them a part of the community. When deaf children interact in a social group, outside their homes, they make a big leap in developing their social skills. To help develop social skills of a deaf child, here is what society can do-

  1. Help the child learn about the world:

    It is essential for children who cannot hear to experience community events by taking active participation in it. Family of a deaf child can help them by taking them out in public as frequently as possible
  2. Help the child develop friendships:

    Many deaf children are lonely and feel isolated because they haven’t learnt or developed their social skills. Also, the other children do not know how to include them in their daily activities. You can help the children who are not deaf understand how to communicate with those children who are deaf. Other children may become frustrated trying to play with a child who does not understand the rules of their game. They may start to leave the deaf child out of their games. You can help by showing hearing children ways to play that do not need words. You can explain the rules to your child and show her how to play the game
  3. Be a good role model:

    Teaching other children to involve deaf children in their daily lives and respecting them isn’t enough. You need to be a good role model first by displaying compassion and respect towards differently able people. We must take our own advice and set a good example for other children around us
Furthermore, you can enhance social skill development in your deaf child by following these certain activities for deaf child-
  1. Art:

    Art is a good way to express emotions and feelings, which your child can take up with an ease. Hearing impaired children can do basic activities such as colouring, painting, drawing and so on. You can also include clay and ceramics art work along with sewing and stitching if your child develops an interest for the same
  2. Treasure hunt:

    Treasure hunt activity teaches hearing impaired children how to ask for help and ask for clarification, as well as to negotiate with peers. This activity will also help your child to be a part of a group and also help other children to communicate with a deaf child gradually
  3. Acting:

    This activity can be done in a group setting, with or without the use of props. Charades is an impromptu activity that teaches hearing-impaired people how to fine-tune their abilities to read people non-verbally
  4. Dancing:

    Now this may seem tough in the beginning, but your child will catch up soon if he/she has good observation skills. One way to make dancing fun is to have a mimicking game. Appoint a leader and ask the participants to imitate his/her dancing moves while the music is playing. When the music stops, all participants must freeze in place
  5. Emotion crafts:

    Hearing impaired children have a tough time in expressing their emotions to others. You can ask your child to create different emotion posters with different emotions in each section. They can cut out pictures from magazines and simply glue them to poster boards. Another idea is to teach them the colours that depict emotions, such as ‘blue’ for sad feelings, ‘red’ for anger and ‘pink’ for love and so on. This is also a good way to boost creativity in your child

These are several ways through which you can develop social skills in your child with hearing impairment. Keep up with these techniques and soon you will be witnessing a positive change in your child.

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Apr 11, 2018

Good blog. Thanks for sharing.

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| Apr 11, 2018

useful info.

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