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Why is developing your family’s knowledge and skills important?
There may be lots of new information to understand and choices to make when your child is first diagnosed with a hearing loss.
Developing a good understanding as early as possible will help you feel more confident about making decisions for your child and will increase your child’s positive experiences of learning and development.
Research shows that a variety of supports can play an important role in developing your family’s knowledge and skills. There is also emerging evidence to suggest accessing early intervention and ongoing supports can help reduce stress in parents or carers of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
What support options can help build your family’s knowledge and skills?
Research suggests that building your family’s knowledge and skills can have a positive impact on your family and child. Best practice guidelines describe supports that may help build knowledge and skills of parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
One or more of the following options may suit your child’s needs.
Family to family or parent to parent supports
This is support from other families who have experience with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.
This may also include adult role models who are deaf or hard of hearing.
This can help:
- Connect you with others who understand your situation
- Provide social support and to help answer questions
- Practice new communication skills in a natural setting
- Build your confidence
- Provide a source of emotional support from those who understand your situation
- Make you feel less isolated
- Provide day-to-day support, including help with daily tasks or social support
- Answer your questions to help you build your knowledge.
Broader support networks
This could be support from community groups, friends, extended family, religious affiliations, or others you meet in your day-to-day such as play groups.
- Provide social supports.
- Help practice new communication skills in various settings.
- Build confidence and capabilities in various settings.
- Reduce feelings of isolation.
- Provide day-to-day support, including help with daily tasks or social support.
- Meet specific needs or concerns. For example if you need advice from someone within your cultural group.
Support from health or educational professionals
For example, audiologist, speech pathologist, early intervention provider, mental health supports, educational professionals including early learning or teacher of the Deaf, your doctor or services provided by community organisations.
- Provide you with reliable information and answer your questions
- Become knowledgeable about expectations and milestones in typical childhood development
- Learn new skills and strategies to communicate with your child
- Understand and choose support options which best suit your family
- Reduce or help you to manage stress and improve your family’s wellbeing
- Help develop coping strategies
- Support attachment (connections) between you and your child
- A home environment where your child can learn and thrive
- Help develop a positive outlook
- Help to connect you with other supports.
Who can you talk to about developing your family’s knowledge and skills?
You can talk with an early childhood partner, providers, early childhood professionals, peer supports or other friends and family about developing your family’s knowledge and skills. Read more about questions to ask providers.
This guide is designed to help you understand the supports that may be available to children who are deaf or hard of hearing. It does not imply that a specific support will automatically be included in your child’s NDIS plan.
Some supports may be provided outside of the NDIS. All of the supports included in your child’s NDIS plan must meet the NDIS funding criteria.