Children with Disabilities

boy looking troubled
When I was a Teacher of the Visually Impaired I learned how much of an impact having a child with a disability had on marriage. In the seven years I worked with families I witnessed four divorces of the parents of my students. Single mothers are frequently left caring for children with few resources. When the child has a disability the load is heavier in many ways. The love is strong, and mothers carry on. In this article O’Connor sheds some light on childhood deafness.

Hearing Loss and Deafness in Children

Hearing plays a large role in a child’s development, and having a child diagnosed with hearing loss can come as a shock. However, childhood hearing loss is not as uncommon as many think. The NIH reports that it occurs in 2 to 3 children per 1,000. Most importantly, parents and children should know that treatment for hearing loss as made great strides through out the years.

There are many different causes behind hearing loss and deafness. In some cases, kids have it from birth. About 5% of babies who are born too early have some level of hearing loss. Kids can also inherit hearing impairments from other members of their family, or it can be a symptom of a larger syndrome like Down Syndrome or Waardenburg Syndrome. In other cases, hearing loss happens later in childhood. It can be caused by frequent ear infections or illness like measles or meningitis. Sometimes, doctors may not be able to find an exact reason hearing loss has occurred.

If a child has hearing loss from birth, parents may notice that they don’t wake up in response to loud noises. A deaf child will probably also experience a significant speech delay because they learn language by imitating those around them. A child who experiences hearing loss later on in their lives may not respond when someone calls their name, or they might fall behind in school because they can’t hear the teacher very well.

With the rapid increase in modern technology, it seems like everything we own has made great technological advancements throughout the years.  Today hearing aids are very popular for children and adults who are affected by hearing loss.  In some cases, surgery or a cochlear implant may help. Attending speech therapy will help with their communication skills. For children with severe hearing loss, it is probably wise for them and their parents to learn sign language.

Sometimes kids with hearing loss or deafness may be bullied by other kids. Kids who are being bullied should remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and their hearing loss shouldn’t stop them from pursuing their dreams. As parents we must always remember to inform our children that their hearing loss makes them no different from anyone else.  Today in our society there are many stigmas that surround hearing loss as a whole.  It is our job to spread awareness in an effort to eliminate these stigmas.

There are lots of famous people who have hearing loss or deafness. Thomas Edison, one of the most well-know figures in American history, began to lose his hearing when he was twelve years old. Edison saw his hearing loss in a positive light because it allowed him to concentrate on his work. He went on to create the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph.  Marlee Matlin is an actress who lost most of her hearing at a young age. She has not let deafness hold her back from having a successful career acting in films and on television.

Hearing loss is a sense that many people often take for granted until it is gone.  We must inform our children that there hearing loss does not make them different and that with the proper knowledge and support system, anything is possible.

Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!

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