Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Behavior Strategies for Children with Hearing Loss

I absolutely loved this John Tracy lecture. It was one of Monday's lectures, and I was glad to get additional tips for handling behavior issues. Nolan is actually my "easy" child (less strong willed than Matt), but he is more aggressive than his older brother. We try to do the main points offered in the lecture: consistency, routine, positive reinforcement, etc. on a regular basis. There were also several points I had never considered before, including:

  • Clear communication. Long lectures are pretty useless with young children. They don't have the language skills or the attention span for it.
  • Time outs are not effective for "refusal" behaviors. For instance, a child who refuses to clean up his toys will not benefit from a time out. Time outs should be reserved for more aggressive behaviors.
  • Having realistic expectations. If you go out to dinner and your child hasn't had a nap, then you have to expect a meltdown.
  • Prevent inappropriate behaviors when possible, with the establishment of logical routines (i.e. dressing before the TV goes on) and with visual aids. This includes the creation of experience books and wall charts to explain daily routines.
I am embarrassed to admit that I had never made an experience book before coming to John Tracy. I had read about them online, but thought they had to do with emerging vocabulary and not overall language and behavior development. There were several ideas for experience books to help children deal with behavior, social development, and transitions.

A "No No" book could be created for problematic behaviors at home. For instance, if your child constantly throws toys across the room, an experience book could be made with pictures (or drawings) of the child doing the behavior and the consequences (Mommy's unhappy face or an upset friend). Reading the book when you are not "in the moment" helps cement the idea that this behavior is unacceptable.

A "Yes" book could be created with pictures of your child doing appropriate things. Holding hands when crossing the street, picking up his toys, or sharing with her friend.

A "Go" book is useful for errands or multiple trips. This isn't exactly a "book," but a series of laminated pictures on a ring. You can change the pictures for the errands at hand, and use it in the car to show your child what is on the agenda for the day: "First we're going to the post office, then the doctor, then the grocery store." Knowing what is going to come next (and how many trips are expected) helps children cope with a day of errands.

A Routine Wall Chart, reading from top to bottom, is great for very young children. The really little guys don't have left-to-right progression yet, but they instinctively understand the top-to-bottom sequence. You can post pictures of your daily routine on a wall, and remind your child of what is coming next: "After we take our bath, it is time for bed."

I also heard about a concept called social stories from another mom in the program- I plan on trying this one out with Matt. Social stories were originally developed for children with autism, but they work beautifully for children with hearing loss and typically developing children, too.


xraevision said...

Nor did I ever make an experience book before JTC, although I had been asked to many times by X's itinerant teachers. We came home with two books and great ideas for more. X absolutely LOVES his experience books, especially the No No book.

I also enjoyed the lectures by the OT. Originally, I wondered what any of it had to do with my son, but after our entire JTC experience started sinking in, I found the information helpful.

Three days left:-(

Anonymous said...

This is great! We do social stories, but you've given me some great ideas with the yes and no books and I love the idea of laminated photos on a ring! We are big into visual schedules now as well. Ethan loves it. I would say that since he has been using them in his summer program, his behavior has definitely improved. And just because he keeps us on our toes, he is now using an interpreter at summer school as he refuses to wear his Ci's...going on a month now. Oh the Joys!!

tammy said...

Love all the wonderful ideas! I have the hardest time with time-outs. They just don't work for Aiden. Maybe the yes and no experience books will help . It's so hard to talk about what he's doing wrong, because I always wonder "does he REALLY understand ANYTHING I'm saying to him??" Discipline has been a very tough area.

Interesting about charts from top to bottom. I just put together a weekly chart to hang in Aiden's room to talk about what we did "today" and what we'll do "tomorrow". I wonder if I should arrange it up and down instead of across OR maybe I should just focus on what we're doing day to day right now.

I've never heard of social stories, but will be checking them out tomorrow! Thanks for all the wonderful info Leah! and BTW, I LOVE the pier pics!

hearingaustintx said...

I have a friend who has a son that experiencing hearing loss. He doesn’t know what to do about it. I think this post is going to be a big help to him.

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Mike said...

I think if that happens to my child I don't really know what I am going to do. It is so hard to explain what is happening to a child with that kind of situation. But reading this kind of post is going to be a big help.

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