Question #5

What are some behavior management techniques for children with hearing loss?



         Adams, J. (1997). You and your deaf child, a self-help guide for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. (Rev. 2nd ed.). Washington, D.C., Gallaudet University Press.

         Medwid, D. & Weston, D. (1995). Kid-friendly parenting with deaf and hard of hearing children. Washington, D.C., Gallaudet University Press.

Synthesis of information

In his book You and Your Deaf Child, Adams (1997) states that your child uses behavior to tell you what he/she needs or wants.  A hearing loss makes the communication of those needs and wants difficult causing frustration and sometimes behavior problems.  Adams offers these techniques for controlling your hearing impaired child's behavior:

  •  Understand the behavior:  When is it taking place? What triggers the behavior?
  •  Know what you want to change about the behavior.
  •  Have a behavior plan in mind.
  •  Set limits and let your child know the limits.
  •  Have consequences if your child chooses to follow or break the limits.

  • eg.  Rewards = praise, fun activities, money
    Punishment = take something away, scold, remove child from a fun activity
  •  Be prepared to follow through with the consequences.
  •  Be consistent with your child.
  •  Remember that each child is unique!



            Medwid and Weston (1995) point out that many behaviors are controlled by the child's self-confidence and self-respect.  Showing love, respect and empathy for your child helps grow this belief in self.  When your child is frustrated and begins to act out use humor and affection with them.  Point out the positive things they are doing and try to redirect their behavior.  "Keep in mind that some behaviors are developmental and should be expected" (Medwid & Weston, (1995), P. 3).


     Adams' book is a wonderful source of behavior management for the parents of any child.  It is important to remember the whether your child is hearing impaired or not, he is still just a child.  All children need direction and limits from the moment they are born.  Adults have the power to mold and shape their child's behavior, but the pattern is set from birth.  Gently letting your child know that you are in control right from the beginning will pave the way for appropriate behavior.   All children will test the limits, but if they learn early on that there are consequences, they will be less likely to disobey.  The following information in the bibliography is good for classroom use, but could be adapted to use in the home.


     Bussion, G.J., Murdock, J.Y. & Reynolds, K.E. (1995). Effects of tokens on response latency of students with hearing impairments in a resource room. Education and Treatment of Children, 408-421.

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