Sports are challenging, and for the child with a hearing loss, there are additional obstacles such as communication, safety, and protecting delicate hearing devices. Unique strategies and preparation are essential. Extracurricular activities and sporting events teach lessons regarding teamwork, responsibility, winning, and losing. These activities are vital for the overall educational and social experiences of children, including those with hearing loss.
Building an inclusive team environment that includes children with hearing loss begins with the realization that all communication is not one-size-fits-all. Exclusion is the product of assumptions. These so-called norms take for granted that everyone communicates in the same manner. When putting a team together, remember that with hearing impairments, every situation is different. Do not assume that what works for one person will work for another. If a child has a sensory challenge, do not write them off. Instead, empathize with them and try to appreciate their situation. This understanding is the foundation of inclusion.
Become an advocate for your child. It is up to you to let staff know what your child’s exact hearing needs may be. Try to seek out specific teams with staff members who have experience supporting players with sensory challenges such as hearing loss. Also, be prepared to instruct coaches and staff members on how hearing devices work. Connecting with coaches is crucial for inclusion. Attend athletic department meetings, become a coach yourself, hold a hearing loss training session with coaches, and keep lines of communication open via regular check-ins with staff.
It is vital for coaches of children with hearing loss to use multichannel communication, including visual aids, transcribing, and interpreting. Here are a few ideas for coaches and staff members:
Community and school sports teams are a fantastic way for children to stay in shape and learn the importance of teamwork. No matter what sport your child partakes in, communication is essential. If your child has a hearing loss, please make sure that coaches and staff members are aware of the hearing loss. Do you believe that your child might be having problems with communication? If so, please schedule a hearing exam with a hearing healthcare professional today. The capacity to communicate with team members and coaches is essential for success in sports, so help your child reach their full potential.