Author: Eleanor T. Robertson, Ph.D. Director, School Psychology, Trinity University


The cause of the auditory impairment should not be the first topic of discussion. However, you should be attuned to this issue since the time and circumstances surrounding the origin may affect the child. Was the auditory impairment from birth or did it occur more recently?  Has the family had time to make necessary adjustments around the child’s needs or are these still being negotiated? Did the hearing loss occur through an accident, disease process, birth complications? A teen who was the victim of an accident will have different emotional issues to face than the youngster who is deaf from birth due to health problems. How severe is the auditory impairment? Can the student hear in a limited way or is there total loss of hearing? Was the loss progressive? Again, these factors can influence how you as a counselor approach the topic.


Suggestions:

  • Have the parents fill out a background information form so you can review the history of the child’s auditory impairment before the initial meeting. This will prepare you for how you approach counseling. If the loss of hearing was recent, you may need to bring basic information for support services in the community. This will also give you an opportunity to read about any medical conditions with which you are unfamiliar.
  • Although you will want to wait until the initial meeting to establish goals for the counseling, the history will give you some possible issues to explore. In advance, you might research materials to use with younger children who may need some “prompting.”  For example, even if stories do not include individuals with hearing impairments, literature that describes youngsters dealing with challenges may be useful.
  • Information about the degree of usable hearing is helpful since you can prepare the counseling environment with appropriate materials. Toys that involve tactile and visual senses may be especially appealing to the student who is very restricted in hearing.