While your child is building up their understanding of the world, they may be also getting used to their hearing aids or cochlear implant, so it’s understandable that they could become frustrated when trying to communicate. Luckily, I’ve found a few ways to help my toddler through this tough stage.
Try to empathize with your child when they are frustrated. It can be really hard when they are going for it in a full blown tantrum, but try to nip it in the bud as soon as you can see them becoming agitated. Get down to their level and talk them through it, let them know you understand why they feel that way.
For a lot of deaf children, frustrations come from not understanding what is being said. It may be that the child is also struggling to hear over background noise or other people talking. Try to use very simple language that you know your child can understand until their vocabulary is more comprehensive. If you see them struggling in a noisy environment try to take them to a quieter space or turn down the volume on any technologies or appliances.
I found this idea on Pinterest recently and I absolutely love it. I think the idea of having something calming you can give you child or put near them when they need some time out is genius. I have written a bit more about it in my blog post here.
It’s important to teach your child typical social speech as early on as possible. A lot of frustrations we personally experience take place during play dates or when out with other children. Phrases such as “My name is ….”, “Can I play” and Hello/Goodbye” are especially useful. It’s also good to learn the words and meaning of “share,” “no” and “time to go.”
If your child gets frustrated and angry in the same situation all the time then take note of it and think how you can change it. For example, if they get upset over not wanting to share a toy because they can’t understand why they have to, then practice these situations at home. Practice the word “share,” learn the sign language for it, make it fun and rewarding to share toys with mummy and daddy and it will become easier in public.
How do you deal with tantrums and frustrations with your deaf child? I’d love to read about your experiences in the comments!