Counseling for families of Deaf and
Hearing loss affects individuals in various ways,
each with their unique issues from the newly diagnosed child to the
adult who has lost hearing as a result of a
brain tumor to the senior citizen who has hearing loss as a result of
aging. Even within the parameters of
childhood hearing loss, there is a wide range of educational
opportunities from mainstreaming to the self contained classroom. Parents must deal with the often overwhelming
array of choices in educational methodologies such as cued speech, total
communication, auditory-verbal training and ASL only classrooms.
Adults with late onset
hearing loss from illness, accidents or hereditary factors must deal
with the grief and the loss of control that often comes with it. Many symptoms of hearing loss in older
people can often be confused with Alzheimer’s such as disorientation
(due to balance problems), depression,
isolation, forgetfulness (due to not hearing the original information),
and social withdrawal. Families with aging
parents often don’t know whether to speak louder, or enunciate more or,
worse, assume that the person has become senile or is showing signs of
Whatever the challenge may be, counseling can help
individuals and their families learn to adjust to how hearing loss
affects them in more positive ways.
For mental health professionals
Psychological and educational testing with a professional who is
knowledgeable about deafness and/or is fluent in sign language is
vitally important in making appropriate educational and mental health
decisions. Due to language delays, an
appropriate test battery needs to include many non-verbal measures to
prevent misdiagnosis. Each assessment is
individually tailored to the needs of the person requesting it. Oftentimes, I am able to utilize assessment
measures that other school psychologists or professionals don’t have.
Specific to trauma work in therapy, I offer a
service where I work adjunctly with you in helping your deaf or hard of
hearing client deal with issues of abuse or trauma utilizingEMDR.
For educators: assessment and parent support groups
Deaf and hard of hearing children usually have delayed achievement
along with typical language delays which can often be mistaken for low
intelligence. As such, psychoeducational assessment can
particularly useful in determining the interrelationship between innate
potential and academic achievement. An assessment with a
specialist in deafness can help make the appropriate placement i.e.
mainstreaming, self-contained classroom or the need for additional
services for other learning disabilities.
A particularly critical component to
successful acacademic performance is parental involvement. Research shows a
direct correlation with performance and parental involvement. As a
strong believer in the power of family support, I have led numerous
groups for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children with a major
focus on helping to distinguish between issues related to hearing loss
and those of normal childhood development. As
such, you can view parental empowerment as a long-term investment that
pays dividends in creating strong, independent and capable young people
who will not have to rely on public welfare.