Hello everyone! Welcome to TAPED’s Parent Blog. We hope that you will find the information on our website helpful, insightful, and/or inspiring! We welcome input and would love to hear ideas for upcoming posts. There’s a link at the end of the post to submit your ideas.
I hope this finds you well! I can feel myself preparing my brain for all the ‘stuff’ that’s about to start! Our family goes big on Halloween. Then we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the while I am planning our Chinese New Year festivities in my head. We celebrate at home, in the community, and I send activities with him to school too.
With each activity we attend or host, communication is always on the front of my mind. Are we a perfect family? No. Do we slip up and accidentally leave Xiao out at times? Yes. There’s always room for improvement.
In each setting, I always ask myself what I think is most important. Sometimes what’s important will change throughout the day.
Is it important for my son to be free to just play, be silly, and figure stuff out?
The skills he learns in safe environments can be applied to different situations as he gets older. Through play, Xiao can learn how to read the situation, ask for clarification, or not bother asking for clarification if he doesn’t feel it’s necessary. He can make mistakes and learn naturally without his parents swooping in to save the day.
If this is what I feel is important, I take a step back and let Xiao play and do his own thing. I also let him know that IF he needs help communicating, he can always grab me.
Is it important that he be able to have connections with certain people and hold conversations with those around him?
This will build core memories and help him feel safe and loved by our friends and family. We all have memories of chats or experiences with certain family members. We remember funny stories told about loved ones. These are important for my son to know as well. It might not seem important, but these stories are what connect us and provide us shared experiences. Xiao needs to know that the first time his maternal great-grandpa was spanked was at age 21 or that his dad used to work at a concession stand every weekend with his paternal great-grandpa. Are these stories going to get him into Harvard? No, but these stories will help him feel connected to his family. That’s HUGE!
If this is what I feel is important, I make sure to repeat stories if needed either in sign or by rephrasing. We are a talking and signing family so sometimes we pull out ALL the tools. I’ve been known to draw a picture or two as well. If Xiao has a question about a story, I make sure his voice is heard and will sometimes help him word his questions so everyone is on the same page.
Is it important that he be heard and be able to provide his opinions on things?
This will help him feel valued and empowered to speak up when needed. I want Xiao to always know his opinion matters and that he can ask for help or assert his opinion on things (SOME things…he doesn’t pay my bills so my opinion still wins if we’re in a deadlock).
If this is what I feel is important, I will help facilitate an opening for him to interject or have the stage. I might have to hold space for him. It might sound like this:
- “Let’s ask Xiao what he feels? Hey Xiao, which game did you want to play?”
- “He didn’t say mac and cheese, he said he wanted to call McKenzie.”
- “Xiao, Josh just talked about his favorite movie. Do you want to tell us about your favorite movie?”
- “Xiao, did you hear what Simon asked you? (repeat question so he can process and answer.)”
Anytime we are with others, I am checking for understanding. I watch his body language and listen to his answers to see if they are in line with the conversation. If something seems off, I offer support. Sometimes Xiao accepts, and sometimes he’ll shoo me away.
Is it important for him to just feel comfortable and independent while we’re at a gathering?
This is always something I want. How do I help facilitate this?
- Always have captions on the TV.
- Make sure lighting is okay.
- NEVER say.”I’ll tell you later.” or “It’s not important.”
- Have Deaf friendly activities out.
- Give Xiao the floor sometimes.
This time of the year can be extremely stressful for everyone! Let’s all try to help make communication LESS stressful for our kids this year.
Lindsay’s Language Lounge
As a parent with a DHH child, developing language is always on the front of my mind! One way my son has loved to learn new language is through multiple meaning words. Multiple meaning words are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings when used in a different context. Each of my blogs will have a different multiple meaning word and ways that you can incorporate its use in everyday conversations.
This month’s multiple meaning word is…dressing!
- (While you’re cooking your Thanksgiving meal) “Hey can you go get some pants and socks so I can cook them in the turkey for dinner?”
- (While you’re out shopping for clothes) “Do you think they’ll have turkey and ham to eat with our dressing in the dressing room?”
- (If your child has a scraped up knee) “Honey go get the Stove Top! We need to add a dressing to this knee so it stops bleeding!”
After you have thoroughly confused your child and gained their attention, explain the meaning of dressing in the context it’s being used.
We’d Love to Hear From You
We look forward to sharing information on topics that are of interest to you as well as relevant to the area of Deaf Education. Here is a link to get feedback on the topics you would like to be covered https://forms.gle/k68CSrARgbbXMsdV9.