During the pandemic, a child’s knowledge of social issues and COVID-19 may come from their peers or perhaps what they see on television or read on social media. For many deaf and hard of hearing children, access to language can be dependent on individuals who can sign or communicate clearly with children. Without adequate language support at home, students may fall short of being able to fully connect and communicate with others in their household. Increased anxiety and fear and contribute to complex feelings and behaviors.
With back-to-school guidelines constantly shifting, children are likely to experience additional anxiety or fears about returning to school. Whether an in-person, hybrid or remote learning model, learning will look very different to all children this fall. To pair these feelings of uncertainty and fear with lack of language resources, there will be increased emotional and mental instability for deaf and hard of hearing children.
The following suggestions can support parents to help ensure their child understand the different possibilities for back-to-school learning, and how to help them cope with their feelings:
- Ask a trusted teacher or school staff member to talk with your child. Often, school staff play as large a role in a child’s socio-emotional development as the parents. Ask a counselor if they wouldn’t mind sitting with your child (even on Zoom!) and help ease their concerns.
- Look for videos in ASL geared to kids about COVID-19. Some links to explore include:
TLC’s ASL eResources
Convo COVID Resources
CDC - Supporting deaf children during COVID-19
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center
- Ensure you are doing your part as a parent to advocate for your child’s at-home support through language access, IEPs, interpreters and technology needs. Our Public School Partnerships program works directly with school districts to provide a support system for academic and developmental progress.