Do you have a deafblind child? How do you deal with everyday living raising a child with this condition? Deafblindness or varying degrees of hearing and vision loss may occur because of complications at birth or during pregnancy due to viral disease. This condition can be inherited too or caused by a chromosomal disorder. Autoimmune conditions acquired brain injury, and eye and ear injury can also result in deafblindness.
6 Ways To Support A Child With Deafblindness
In this article, you’ll learn practical ways to support a child with this condition.
Seek Deafblind Services
Families with deafblind loved ones can seek the help of deafblind services to obtain the support they need, such as learning the correct information about the condition. By knowing how to manage deafblind kids, parents and caregivers can provide the right care and support that the child needs to live a functional, happy, and improved quality of life.
Teach Tactile Learning Strategies
The primary senses children use to learn are hearing and vision. So, when these senses diminish or disappear, families and teachers should try alternative methods to support learning.
Tactile learning strategies help support children with deafblindness. These tactile learning strategies include using a hand-under-hand approach, tactile modeling, and mutual tactile attention.
A hand-under-hand approach involves placing your hands underneath the child’s hand as you guide them to explore objects, demonstrate something, or follow their interests.
Because most deafblind children tend to have residual vision and hearing, you can enhance their learning experience with tactile learning strategies. You can pair them with other approaches, incorporating the other senses, such as olfaction or sense of smell, taste, and proprioception (sense of balance and equilibrium).
Provide Orientation and Mobility Assistance and Training
Movement is one of the building blocks for learning. Children discover things and explore the world by moving, such as walking and running. A child with hearing and visual impairment needs encouragement to learn and explore his surroundings.
The world can be unpredictable for children with deafblindness, so parents and caregivers should support providing them orientation and mobility assistance and training. This training can help deafblind children measure space and the right place to go or orientation.
With orientation and mobility assistance, and training, deafblind children can carry out a mobility plan. Hence, it’s crucial to teach your child mobility and orientation skills as early as possible. In this way, they can reach adulthood with independence, allowing them to navigate the world effectively, efficiently, and safely.
Teach Communication Methods
As early as possible, you need to teach your child how to communicate using accepted standard methods that other children and people can also understand. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind that someone will be able to understand them if problems arise without your presence.
Teach your child with deafblindness to use many various ways to communicate, such as:
Introduce Technology to Help Them
With the advancement in modern technology, various inventions have been launched in the market, helping people with disabilities. These technological inventions help promote convenient management of mobility, feeding, learning, and other aspects of daily living.
As your child with deafblindness ages, you can introduce different equipment and technology that they can use in their daily living. Some examples of these technological inventions to help people with this disability include the following:
- Mobility canes
- Closed-circuit televisions (CCTV)
- Large print clocks or watches
Support Your Child’s Dreams
Disabled people, like deafblind people with both hearing and vision hearing loss, can also be successful in society. They can come from various educational, social, and vocational backgrounds.
People with deafblindness can become teachers, business executives, professors, counselors, agency directors, government workers, homemakers, and others. Of course, they can also run their businesses.
So, it’s essential to support your child’s dreams. Don’t ever think that your child won’t ever have a “normal” life because living like everyone else is possible, even for those who are deafblind. Show your support in any endeavor your child wants to attain to motivate him to work hard and help himself.
Supporting a child with deafblindness involves prioritizing the child’s basic needs, desired activities, safety, and mobility needs. Children with deafblindness need to learn using tactile strategies.
You need to teach your child ways to communicate with other people, such as using sign language and use technology to his advantage. By providing all the support your child needs, he will grow, enjoying his childhood, and gaining independence as he becomes an adult.