Safe space is very important for everyone. Safe Space is a place or environment in which an individual or group of people can feel confident and comfortable to express themselves without being subject to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. WHOLE ME strives to build a safe space for all Deaf/HH and diverse children and their families. Diversity is the main key to openness, love, and respect.
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Creating a Safe Space at Home
Some Deaf/HH children often feel isolated because they struggle to communicate
at home and at school with people who know little or no signs. We encourage you to
create a safe place at home for your Deaf child.
Listening is the main key to effective communication. If you are not an expert at signing, there are other ways to communicate with your child. Written notes or text messages can be used to ask them what is wrong or to find out other information. Check in often to see how they are feeling or what they are thinking about.
Every child feels frustrated when there is lack of communication or understanding. You may feel frustrated too. Don't worry, you are not alone. It happens to others. Patience is the best way to reduce tension. Take as much time as needed to listen to your child when they are attempting to express their thoughts or feelings. Giving up or ignoring your child is never the best option. If tension becomes too high, you should try again later when you are both calm.
Another barrier to communication is the fear of judgment. Every child thinks adults will judge them for what they are thinking or feeling. But the most important thing you want your child to know is that you are open to hearing what they have to say before you share your own thoughts.
4. Use Empathy
Whether your child is ready to talk to you or not, be empathetic about the process of sharing your feelings. Also, you must realize that no matter how safe an environment you have created, your child may still not open up to you right away.
5. Be There for Your Child
Every Deaf child secretly wishes to feel inclusive amongst everyone else, especially at home and at school. It is natural for them to feel left out during individual or group conversations and discussions. There will be times when your child is unable to express their feelings in a healthy way. However, you can always tell them that you are here to talk when they are ready and that you are sincerely sorry that you are unable to understand what is going on with them, but you would like to.
It will let them know that you are honest about not be aware what they have been through and that when they choose to talk, you let them know that you will always be available for them and they never have to feel alone.
Also, please remember that it is never too late to learn sign language.
If you would like to learn more about communicating with a Deaf child:
Click here for Tips for Deaf-Friendly Communication by National Deaf Children's Society
Click here for Communicate with your Deaf Child by Raising Deaf Kids