Parents want what is best for their children. They also understand the needs of their child and are the best people to speak up on behalf of their child to get the services and support they need. It is an unfortunate reality that the services and support you think would benefit your child, are not always be available for a child with UHL. As parents, you may need to go into bat for your child. And to do this effectively you will need to learn to advocate.
Advocacy is about speaking on behalf of your child to negotiate for services and support. The time where many parents with a child with UHL need to become effective advocates is when their child goes to school. But there will be many situations before school that your advocacy skills can benefit your baby. Finding early intervention and starting child care or preschool are all situations where you may need to negotiate for your child's needs.
Being an advocate for our child is not always easy. You need to know what you want for your child. You need to be well-informed. You need to plan and prepare. You will need documentation to support your arguments. You need to negotiate - to be calm but assertive.
There are a few things you can do in preparation:
In turn, you can teach your child to advocate him or herself. You will not always be on hand to speak up on your child's behalf. Give your child the confidence to speak up and be clear about their needs. Your child could benefit from meeting someone older than them with a unilateral hearing loss - sharing personal experiences with a mentor can provide confidence and guidance for young people negotiating their needs at school and the wider world.
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06-Nov-2015 8:18 PM (AEST)