If your child has hearing loss, confidence, resilience, and self-advocacy are especially important to their development. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these attributes and show you how to build them in your child.
What Are Confidence, Resilience, and Self-Advocacy?
Confidence is not about being physically tough or strong, but about being able to:
- Share your thoughts, ideas, and comments assertively with others.
- Request help when you need it.
- Apologize and accept defeat.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back after failure, to try again, and to work hard even though things are difficult. It’s also about adopting change and being flexible in new situations.
Self-advocacy encompasses the ability to:
- Request help when you need it.
- Request changes or environmental modifications and assertively express the reasons for your requests.
- To stand up for yourself.
Confidence, resilience, and self-advocacy look different in different situations, for different people, in different cultures, and at different ages.
Why Do Children Need Confidence, Resilience, and Self-Advocacy?
Children with hearing loss will face new challenges at every age and stage. In the early years, caregivers act as their advocates, ensuring they have the support and environmental modifications they need to thrive in educational and social settings.
However, as a child grows and becomes an adult, they must be able to request help and environmental modifications independently and confidently to navigate the obstacles of daily life in a fast-paced, connected world, and in an ever-changing job market. Promoting self-confidence, resilience, and self-advocacy skills in children with hearing loss early sets them up to succeed.
How Can We Build Confidence, Resilience, and Self-Advocacy in Children?
Here are some simple ways to help your child develop confidence, resilience, and self-advocacy.
- Demonstrate a confident attitude towards your child’s hearing loss and their use of hearing devices.
- Use positive language and model a ‘can-do’ approach when responding to questions and comments about hearing loss from your child and others. Your child will likely respond to questions and comments from others in the way you do.
- Demonstrate polite and assertive requests for adaptions as a model for how your child can begin to make such requests in the future.
- Equip the people around you with accurate information about hearing loss, how your child’s hearing devices work and how they help your child, basic device troubleshooting, communication strategies, and environmental modifications.
- Demonstrate how to explain and convey that information to others in a simple way, so that your child can learn from you how to express this information. One way of doing this may be to complete the ‘All About Me’ handout for the classroom together with your child. Your child is more likely to ask for what they need if they know what helps them and how to ask.
Peers & Role Models
- Seek groups, other children, teens, and adults with hearing loss in your area or online for your child to meet or connect with. Meeting other people with hearing loss allows your child to discuss obstacles and challenges, share practical tips and tricks, and gain peer support.
- Follow advocates and role models on social media. Share role model’s successes with your child to highlight what is possible.
- Record your child’s performances, experiences, and achievements for them to share with others. Identify and develop your child‘s talents to inspire their confidence.
- Harness opportunities to encourage your child to develop their confidence or practice self-advocacy skills by:
- Making a request from an unfamiliar person, such as a cashier.
- Speaking in front of a group.
- Telling others about their hearing devices.
- Using communication strategies such as saying ‘can you please face me when speaking so I can lip read’, ‘Let’s move away from the noise so I can hear you more clearly’.
- Engage in problem-solving together to teach your child that setbacks, mistakes, and failures are inevitable, but an opportunity to learn. Encourage your child to try again when faced with a challenge and praise their effort and hard work in persisting with difficult tasks.
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The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution is suitable for your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications shown are approved in all countries.