A few years ago, Derrick Coleman was signed by the Seattle Seahawks, making him the first deaf person to join the NFL. Matt Hamill, who has been deaf since birth, is a wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter. He was named the NCAA Division III national champion three times and was a competitor in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Historically, many young athletes who are hard of hearing have been excluded from team sports. Some of the factors that led to this were due to group and social sensitivities, difficulty recognizing norms among the team members, and an absence of resources that limit the size of the staff. Disregarding these children and teens can harm their development as a person and an athlete. It could also lead them to become excluded at work and other social environments in the future.
It’s important to work with schools and communities to address this issue and use better communication to allow children with hearing loss to develop interpersonal and teamwork skills.
Raise awareness for Children with Hearing Loss
Remember that everyone has a different method of communication. If you believe that everyone communicates the same way, this is what leads to people being excluded. Encourage community leaders to be more empathetic, and learn more about:
Observe the child with hearing loss and do research. The best way to help this child is by asking them. There may be some uncomfortable questions that a coach or teammate needs to ask. Here is some advice on how to navigate through this:
Be Supportive of the Needs of Your Child
A coach’s resources tend to determine how many support staff are needed to help a player. You must let the team coach know what your child needs for them to give their best performance. Some solutions may include:
Advocate to have Multiple Means of Communication
Stress the importance of multi-channel communication and help to establish this. You can make visual aids, have a transcriber, or an interpreter. Other recommendations include:
Reaching out to coaches from your child’s school or community is an important first step in helping your child become more included. You may go to a meeting for the athletic department and speak to coaches. You could even become a coach for your child’s team, facilitate training with other coaches, and have an open form of communication with the athletic or recreation department.
These adjustments take time and energy. It’s important to build a network of other parents in your school district or community to work together.
If your child has hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide selection of hearing aid solutions for individuals of every age. Don’t let your child wait to participate in sports any longer, contact us today.