mother (or father) to do?"
How can socialization
be fostered in the home?
Antia, S., Kreimeyer, K., and Eldredge, N. (1993). Promoting
social integration between young children with
hearing impairments and their peers.
Children, 60, 262-275.
Higgins, P. and Nash, J. (1996). Understanding deafness
socially: Continuities in research and theory. Charles C.
Thomas, Springfield, Ill.
Lederberg, A., Ryan, H., and Robbins, B. (1986). Peer
interaction in young deaf children: The effect of partner
hearing status and familiarity. Developmental
Psychology, 22, 691-700.
Odom, S., McConnell, S., and McEvoy, M. (1992). Social
Competence of Young Children with Disabilities. Maryland: Paul H. Brooks
Parents must teach socialization to their hearing impaired child despite
the absence of a common language system. They must communicate values,
rules, skills, and games to their child, a challenging task (Higgins and
Parents have commented that their young hearing impaired child plays best
with hearing children in their neighborhood, suggesting that familiar faces
are the easiest to build friendships for the young child. Familiarity plays
a large role in improving interaction. This type of familiar interaction
tends to be richer for the child as the partner’s repertoires are better
meshed (Lederberg, Ryan, and Robbins, 1986).
Siblings often play a large role in developing play with a hearing impaired
child. Social skills are best learned in small steps starting in the home
at an early age. Mixed-age interactions can be beneficial as the child
can observe and develop skills that help him grow in the area of social
Parents can be wonderful models for language development and a great resource
of knowledge, however play should not be limited to only adult-child interactions.
Social communication behaviors learned through interaction with adults
do not automatically generalize to peers. During the adult-child interaction,
the adult takes the major responsibility of initiating and maintaining
interaction by questioning, commenting, and expanding on the child’s communication.
In contrast, peer interactions require the child to assume responsibility
(Odom, McConnell, and McEvoy, 1992).
Small stable groups may be the best settings for social development for
the young hearing impaired child. Letting the children play freely, communicating
in their own way may be the best opportunity for social interaction with
Mom nearby to assist when needed. A non-intrusive open door environment
in the home will foster the best interactions.
When communication between parent and child is limited, parents may become
more protective of the child, supervise more constantly, thus curtailing
opportunities for independence. The more parents foster reliance on themselves
to assist the child, the less he/she will be able to learn social skills
beneficial to his social development with others (Higgins and Nash, 1996).
Parents should hold their hearing impaired child accountable to the same
rules, demands for tasks, and structure as their other children, or as
other children their age. Rules for bedtime and household chores need not
be any different for the hearing impaired child (Higgins et al, 1996).
Parents have so many responsibilities—assisting in language development,
speech development, auditory training, as well as the social development
of their child. Their role is exhausting! Despite all of this intervention,
they desire normalcy in their child’s life. Socialization is normal and
parents hope for social opportunities for their child, with hearing children
as well as with hearing impaired peers. Development of social skills for
life is critical—for relationships with all people. If parents can hold
their hearing impaired children to the same social expectation as any other
child—sharing, taking turns, assisting others—these children will grow
into fully capable adults. Their encouragement will foster an expectation
that can go a long way toward their goal of full inclusion in all of life’s
Adams, John. (1997). You and Your Deaf Child. Gallaudet
University Press, Washington, D.C.
Medwid, D. and Weston, D. (1995). Kid-Friendly Parenting
with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. Gallaudet
University Press, Washington, D.C.
Naiman, D. and Schein, J. (1978). For Parents of Deaf
Children. National Association of the Deaf, New York.
[Return to Main Page]