How to Keep Children with Hearing Loss Engaged in Youth Sports

December 24, 2019

There have been more examples popping up recently of deaf or hearing-impaired athletes finding success in their sports. This makes for great examples for young children who suffer from hearing loss and wish to participate in sports, but there are still plenty of difficulties and barriers they must overcome to have a positive experience as children.

For adults who run youth sports teams or leagues, it is important to consider some of the steps you can take to include children with hearing loss in team sports. It can become easy for children with hearing loss to feel ostracized or unwanted, so being proactive about combating those feelings can make for a much better experience for everyone on the team.

With this in mind, here are some tips for creating a strong team environment and inclusive atmosphere for children with hearing loss in Waterloo, IA.

Raise awareness

First and foremost, everyone involved with the team, including both coaches and children, should be aware of the child’s hearing difficulty—otherwise, they will assume their standard methods of communication will work just fine. Creating awareness leads to better understanding of the issue and greater empathy for the child’s experience. The children should be able to put themselves in the shoes of the child with hearing loss, and understand that it can be hard for them to hear.

Ask questions

It is absolutely okay for coaches or teammates to ask questions of the child or his or her parents about how best to communicate with them. It’s not uncommon for people to feel uncomfortable or rude when asking about the child’s disability, but in most cases these questions will actually be welcomed and appreciated.

Coaches should reach out to parents first about how they can most effectively work and communicate with their child. Parents will be understanding if this is unfamiliar grounds for a coach—showing a willingness to work with the child and learn how best to communicate with them will be greatly appreciated. Coaches should also encourage players to ask questions in a respectful manner.

Parents should be advocates for their children

If you are the parent of a child who is hard of hearing, don’t be afraid to speak up on his or her behalf to the coach to make sure your child’s needs are being accommodated. Be understanding that this could very well be a brand-new scenario for the coach, and don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what your child needs to make the experience as positive as it can be.

If possible, you might consider looking for a team that already has trained support staff for players who deal with sensory challenges. If these resources aren’t available, there’s nothing wrong with showing coaches or staff how hearing or assistive devices work and what strategies are best for communicating with the child.

For more tips to help include children with hearing loss in Waterloo, IA in team sports, reach out to the experts at Potter’s Hearing Aid Service today.

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