Resources for Parents of Deaf and HOH Children
Janick Hickman, MS, is a mental health counselor with the Center for Hearing and Communication in Broward County, Florida.
As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month, please know that for those who struggle with mental health concerns, it is not contained to just one month. It is a daily experience and, often times, a challenge that has recently been intensified by Covid-19, physical distancing, isolation, and school closures, which have tested our coping strategies and stress levels. Increased anxiety and depression-like symptoms are a real concern for deaf and hard of hearing children physically distancing in a hearing family home, especially those who use American Sign Language for communication.
Below is a selection of helpful links to support continued education on the virus, tips on talking to your children about their feelings, and ASL stories to promote language exposure during family bonding opportunities.
Check-in and explanation of Covid-19 courtesy of Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASL video with English captioning)
Time to Come in, Bear: A Story About Social Distancing in American Sign Language (ASL video with voiced English and captions)
ASL Stories Directory (ASL video with voiced English and a storybook visual)
And here are my tips to strengthen children’s mental health while we live in these difficult times:
- Encourage kids and adolescents to express how they feel.
- Actively listen
- Be present
- Teach coping skills (e.g. deep breathing, counting to 10, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, coloring)
- Make sure kids and adolescents are able to maintain social connections
Take care and be well, everyone.