Access and the holidays
The holidays are about spending time with family and friends, being thankful, and celebrating the joy we bring to one another. With all that in mind, we're sharing some pointers to help keep the conversation available to everyone in your family, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Holidays can be loud With so many people in one space, it can be a real challenge to keep up with and understand conversation. Expect there to be some communication breakdowns and come up with solutions ahead of time. If you're hosting the event, keep additional background noise to a minimum. Keep the music and the television off.
Keep the lights on Mood lighting, or lighting with just candles, can make listening nearly impossible for some. Reading facial cues, while not always accurate, certainly helps with listening.
Preferential seating Encourage your child to find a good listening spot at the table. Help them determine where they'll be able to better see everyone, which will improve their chances of hearing everyone.
Expect children to get tired All children get tired at large gatherings. It's exhilarating to see family and friends who you may not see all the time. Remember, though, to take special care with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Give them an opportunity to take a short break away from the crowd. Go for a walk down the block or just sit outside for a few minutes to enjoy the peace.
Plan ahead Talk with your older child before the big day arrives. Come up with some strategies together, encourage them to come up with ideas to help the day go smoother.
Ditch the spotlight Your child may become very uncomfortable if you make a big announcement to family and friends about your child's hearing needs. Let your older child guide you on how to establish ground rules for communicating. With very young children, you can gently remind family and friends about communicating well in large groups.
With access to communication in mind,
and a bit of planning, everyone can have a wonderful season enjoying time spent together!