CHC's Top 4 Learning Tips for Parents of Students with Hearing Loss
By Dana Selznick, M.A., M.Ed. Director of Education and Family Programming
Watching your child grow as a student can be both exciting and challenging. As a parent, you want to do anything you can to support your child’s learning. But sometimes it's difficult to know how you can best play that role.
When it comes to your child's educational development, keep in mind that you are your child’s #1 teacher. Learning begins when a child wakes up and starts getting ready for school, and continues all the way until evening when you turn off the lamp after a bedtime story.
Learning is a Family Affair
Expanding your child’s learning into your home environment is an essential part of CHC’s family-centered program. The time that a child can spend at school or with a CHC therapist is limited. CHC families learn to take an active role in continuing their child's learning at home and incorporating reading, math and writing into each day's afterschool experiences. It’s one reason why children in our program achieve their full academic potential.
As a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I work closely with CHC parents (and teachers) to make sure kids get the support they need to thrive academically. I encourage parents of children with hearing loss to incorporate certain strategies into their child's day to create meaningful learning experiences and foster strong academic skills. Below are four tips to inspire parents everywhere to become the MVP of their child's new school year.
#1 Nurture a Love of Reading
The key to reading is making it fun, and one of the best things you can do as a parent is encouraging daily reading. Early readers love nighttime read-alouds, especially when they get to pick out one story and you pick out the other. While reading, ask your child questions such as:
Who are the characters in the story?
Where does the story take place?
What is the problem in the story?
How do you think that made the character feel?
How was the problem solved?
To promote early reading development, create or buy educational games to have on their game shelves. We have compiled some of our favorite literacy games on our Amazon recommendation list here. CHC's Educational Game Recommendations
Once children are reading independently, you can encourage them to keep a daily reading log and set a goal each week to see how many minutes they can read for. For older students, you can suggest that they expand their reading log into a reading and reflection journal which can incorporate their text-to-text connections and text-to-self connections or details about the setting, author's purpose or character descriptions.
#2 Take Creative Writing to a Whole New Level
Independent writing can be a stressful time for students of all ages, especially for children with hearing loss and auditory processing challenges. Encourage your young writers to start out by drawing a picture of what they would like to write about. This helps children to first visualize their ideas and then later, as they're writing, reference back to the picture to see the details they want to be sure to include.
Before children begin writing, show them an editing tool list. This will help them not worry about how to spell certain words or whether a letter should be capitalized because they will know that they can go back at the end to make these corrections. When they write their first draft, they should only be focusing on getting their ideas on the paper.
The editing process will look different at every age and at every writing level. Young writers should go back to check for capitalization, spelling and punctuation. As children get older, they should begin to incorporate a strong topic and closing sentence for each paragraph and transition words throughout their writing. It is helpful to create a transition word list for them to reference, either while they write or during the editing stage.
#3 Foster Math Skills that Add Up
Many people don’t realize the impact a child's language has on their math development. Many aspects of math incorporate vocabulary, comprehension and language processing. To help budding mathematicians, provide them with tangible items to help them solve word problems or equations. It is also helpful for children to draw pictures to represent number sentences or highlight key words in the directions or word problems.
As parents, the best thing you can do to help your child is to incorporate math into your child's daily life and help them see that math is all around them. It is not just something they learn in school. For example, counting money, telling time, recognizing patterns or creating number sentences based on the streets you walk together to get to school.
#4 Ensure a Successful Homework Routine
After a long day of school, it can be very tricky to motivate children to sit down and focus on their homework. The key is to help children learn how to manage their assignments independently at a young age.
When children get home from school, it's important to work with them on rewriting their assignments and then numbering the assignments in the order that they should be completed. (You'll want to refer to either the assignment book provided by your school or a homework post on Google Classroom.) The order should not only be based on what assignment is most important or due first, but also which assignment excites your child the most. This will help your child get excited to sit down and get started on their homework.
The amount of homework and time it takes to complete assignments only increases as kids go through school, so setting a calm and healthy homework routine early on will go a long way.
You're Not Alone
Starting a new school year is all about embracing new possibilities. Be your child's MVP this fall and watch them embrace a love of learning and strive to get the most out of the new school year.
Remember, you're not alone. CHC is here to support you and your child with hearing loss every step of the way in their journey to hearing, including educational support services. Educational support plays a vitally important step in your child’s development because it bridges the gap between center-based speech/language therapy and the academic environment. Services include reading and writing support, math support, organization/classroom strategies, IEP support, school observations, teacher/school in-services, special instruction (EI) and more—many available through telehealth.
If you have questions about your child's learning needs or want to learn more about the educational support services at CHC, don't hesitate to contact me at (917) 305-7855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you all the best this back-to-school season!