Social Skills for Children with Hearing Loss
The development of social skills is important for all children. At the CCHAT Center, these skills take on even greater importance for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. In some cases, children with hearing loss have a harder time developing social skills than their hearing peers. Because of this, CCHAT emphasizes social skill development in order to allow children with hearing loss to be successful and feel comfortable in a variety of social settings.
What are Social Skills?
Social skills can be defined as a set of attributes that help people communicate and interact with others in a competent, appropriate way. This can include verbal communication, as well as nonverbal gestures. Social skills that can be learned by children with hearing loss include making eye contact during conversations, saying hello, taking turns during a conversation, being aware of other’s feelings, solving problems, maintaining a listening posture and responding to questions.
Why is Social Skill Development Important?
CCHAT’s ultimate goal is to help its students successfully navigate life with hearing loss, now and in the future. Developing social skills is a critical component to each child’s success. Children with hearing loss will face a multitude of social settings in which appropriate behavior and action is required – from making friends in school to trying to secure a job. Those who struggle socially may feel isolated and be unable to form meaningful relationships. Those with appropriate social skills will feel confident in their ability to handle a variety of social situations.
How Does CCHAT Help Children With Hearing Loss Develop Social Skills?
The development of social skills is at the forefront of many CCHAT activities, whether in the classroom or at speech therapy. CCHAT students with hearing loss, as young as toddlers, are equipped with the social skills needed to thrive in their daily routine.
Depending on age and present-level skills, CCHAT children may work on the following areas while in class:
- Making eye contact with teachers and classmates who are speaking
- Responding when asked a question
- Raising a hand to initiate conversation or ask an appropriate question
- Sitting up with proper listening posture
- Waiting for their turn and not speaking over classmates
Additionally, recess serves as a positive setting to practice social skills with fellow classmates, including turn-taking, respect for others and proper behavior during gameplay.
CCHAT’s Social Curriculum
CCHAT further emphasizes the development of social skills during speech therapy. Each Friday, students experience a group speech therapy session in which a different social skill is highlighted each week. Students learn new social skills and practice by acting out scenarios with classmates and staff.
Some subjects being discussed in CCHAT’s social curriculum this school year include:
- Greetings (saying hello)
- Recess rules
- Vocal volume
- Requesting/manners (saying please)
- Turn-taking and sharing
- Listening in noise
- Personal space
- Following directions
Preparing for a Lifetime of Success
Social skills can be learned at a very young age, and for children with hearing loss, these skills are invaluable as they grow up. CCHAT wants to see every child in its program achieve success throughout life – academically, socially and vocationally. By developing appropriate social skills, students who are deaf and hard of hearing can feel confident in their ability to thrive in any social setting.
To learn about more ways in which CCHAT is preparing its students for success, read our recent blog about self-advocacy development. For more information about the programs offered by CCHAT, visit our Programs page.