Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing cannot hear all or certain sounds due to an inability to detect these sounds within their ear. They can communicate different ways which include manually and orally or both. Some people with a hearing impairment wear hearing aids or have a cochlear implant in order to aid in the hearing process.
The causes of a hearing impairment or deafness include genetics, diseases, medication, or trauma to the ear in some way. Parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing have options in regards to their education. Their child can be in a residential school, which is strictly for children with hearing loss. They could also be in a public school and receive special education services, or they can be in a mainstreamed classroom with no special education modifications or accommodations.
The social skills of any individual are important to anyone, regardless if they have a disability. It can often be difficult for children with a hearing impairment to develop appropriate social skills due to the lack of oral communication they have. There have been studies that show that students with hearing loss in a general education classroom tend to experience difficulties in peer relationships and social skills. Individuals without social skills may feel a sense of rejection from their peers.
Having proper social skills is critical for succeeding in society and adding quality to a person’s life. A person must know how to have a conversation with another individual as well as how to relate their thoughts and ideas to another person. Difficulties in social relationships with hearing peers remain, due to the lack of oral communication skills, limited access to communication within group situations, and the attitudes of hearing peers.
Integrating students into general education classrooms is becoming more prevalent in the school setting. Incorporating a social skills class could also help integrate these children who have not been exposed to situations where social skills come into play. This can be done in a speech therapy room or a resource classroom where the amount of students is smaller and less overwhelming. There is much research that shows different interventions that can help these students gain a better sense of social skills which can include a better understanding of proximity, free play with hearing students, and social skills groups in and outside of the classroom.
About the author:
Elisa Lailer, M.Ed is the founder of West Georgia Special Education Consulting and established the company in June 2012. Elisa’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of West Georgia and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Valdosta State University. Elisa was a school-based speech therapist for 5 years in Douglas County, GA where she worked with a variety of students. Her areas of expertise include working with children who exhibit speech/language delays, autism, aspergers, ADD/ADHD, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, and learning disabilities. She has been trained to work collaboratively with parents in order to make sure their child is successful!http://www.westgaspecialedconsult.com/default.html 404-406-4012