Psychology help for my deaf child — Scope | Disability forum
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Psychology help for my deaf child

New here but seeking any advice. My son is 7 and moderate to severely deaf. He is in mainstream school and generally ok besides regular "incidents". His behaviour at home is horrendous. He screams at the drop of a hat or if he doesn't get his own way. It's awful. We are seeing DEAF CAMHS but not much interaction from them. It's breaking our hearts and we are fighting constantly as a family. I cry as soon as I get up and can't take it any more. Have no emotional support and we don't know why he so angry. 


  • Liam_Alumni
    Liam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,101 Pioneering
    Hi @curvycampbell,

    Welcome to Scope's online community! It's great to have you on board.

    I'm sorry to hear about this. I've moved your post to our Ask a Parenting Advisor category.

    @ParentingAdvisor, can you help?
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 740 Listener
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @curvycampbell welcome to the community, I am sorry you are having such a difficult time.

    Screaming and bad behaviour can be a sign of frustration, has he always had the hearing impairment? Are your school supporting you at all.

    @IndependentSupportServices can you offer any thoughts into how this family could get more support?
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    I found this downloadable booklet with a range of useful advice and tips from parents of deaf children. Parents share their experience on:
    • developing communication
    • warning children of danger
    • helping your child mix with others
    • dealing with emotions
    • managing frustration
    • raising confidence; and
    • your feelings
    Take a look at The National Deaf Children's Society which is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. 
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2017
    @ParentingAdvisor says:

    Dear @curvycampbell
    I´m so glad that you´ve reached out for advice because there definitely are things you can do to get back in charge so that your son´s behaviour and mood improve.
    Without knowing more about your son and your family, I cannot say for sure why he is so angry.  But I can imagine that it must be very stressful for him, even if he´s bright, being in a mainstream school and trying to keep up.  Also, the constant fighting at home that you mention is bound to make children just as stressed as it makes the parents. 
    There are a number of strategies that will help him to feel better and to behave better.  The first strategy that I always teach parents is Descriptive Praise.  This is all about noticing and mentioning all the tiny OK things that your child does throughout the day.  This helps children want to cooperate more and more. Of course Descriptive Parise is not a magic wand that can eliminate all problems, but it is very effective at motivating children to want to do their best and be their best.  Below you will find some more information about how to use Descriptive Praise to help improve your son’s behaviour and mood.
    After you´ve been using the Descriptive Praise for a couple of weeks, can you then please get back to us and let us know how you´re getting on and what improvements you´ve seen? Then I can tell you about the next strategy.  

    Descriptive Praise, The Most Powerful Motivator


    How many times have you found yourself repeating, reminding, nagging, pleading, bargaining, arguing, threatening and finally shouting – just to get your son to follow a simple instruction? Lack of cooperation is one of the most stressful things that parents are dealing with on a daily basis.

    Having to repeat and remind may seem like it’s just a fact of life when you’re living with boys. You may not even believe that it’s possible to get first-time cooperation most of the time. The good news is that it’s not difficult to achieve once you know how.

    You deserve first-time cooperation from your son, and you can get it - most of the time. When your son is in the habit of doing what you ask the first time you ask, he will respect you more, and he will be nicer to be with. Everything will go more smoothly. Your son will feel better about himself when he’s mostly getting smiles and hugs for doing the right thing. That will be much more motivating for him than hearing your annoyed tone of voice or seeing the annoyed expression on your face when he’s not doing the right thing.

    Starting with this article, I will be sharing with you some foolproof strategies for helping boys to cooperate most of the time.

    The quickest, easiest and most effective way to start guiding your son into more sensible habits is a strategy called Descriptive Praise. This is always the first strategy I teach parents because it is such a powerful motivator. 

    With Descriptive Praise you leave out the usual superlatives: Well done!  Good boy!  Wonderful!  You’re so clever!   Instead, mention exactly what your child did that was OK:  

               ‘You’re being gentle with the baby.’

               ‘You’re chewing with your mouth closed.’

               ‘You did what I told you to do as soon as I asked.’

    The more Descriptive Praises you say, the more your son will want to please you, so the more cooperative and sensible he will become. Before too long you will be able to count on ninety percent good behaviour – on most days. That has been the experience of every parent who has committed to Descriptively Praising small steps in the right direction at least ten times a day. That is because Descriptive Praise feels so good and because it helps your son to see himself as cooperative, sensible, helpful, kind, etc.  Family life will become much calmer, easier and happier.


    Q: I like the idea of Descriptive Praise, but there really isn't much I can praise. My son could whinge for England! What can I find to praise?

    A: Most misbehaviour is minor, although at times there is so much of it that it feels major. When your son is whingeing, resist the temptation to talk to him. If you reply to a whingeing child he will just assume ‘It’s OK to whinge because Mummy and Daddy are still going to talk to me.’ Wait until there is a pause in the whingeing before you reply. It may feel as if he is never going to stop whingeing, but he will pause sooner if you say nothing. Once he has stopped, wait about five seconds and then say ‘You’re not whingeing now’.


    Of course the first few times you Descriptively Praise him for stopping whingeing, he might look at you as if you are nuts. This is not at all the reaction he was expecting. He was expecting to get your attention by whingeing.

    His response to your Descriptive Praise might be to say nothing, or he might start talking in a friendly, polite voice. But it is also possible that he might start whingeing all over again, or complaining or arguing. Once again, muster up the self-control to wait until there is a pause in the annoying behaviour, then Descriptively Praise him again for stopping. The more often you are willing to Descriptively Praise when your son stops the annoying behaviour, or even just pauses momentarily, the sooner he will see that the new way to get your attention is to do things right.


    Q: Is it OK to use superlatives along with the Descriptive Praise, like ‘That’s terrific that you tidied away your toys’ or ‘I’m so happy you started your homework straightaway’?

    A: On the rare occasions when your son does something new or big that really does make your heart sing, by all means show how happy and excited you are. But, truthfully, how often do our children do something amazing? Tidying up is not something terrific; it’s what we expect him to do. The same is true of staying seated at the dinner table until he’s been excused, putting his clothes in the laundry basket, using his ‘indoor voice’, etc.

    Let’s show that we’re pleased by our Descriptive Praises and our smiles rather than by gushing. When we’re slathering on the superlatives, we’re hoping to influence our children to behave better. But those over-the-top exclamations are counter-productive because children have heard them so often. Consider the disconnect if we get annoyed when they don’t tidy away their toys, but we act as if it’s a miracle when they do! That is bound to be confusing, at the very least.

      Also, you would probably bore yourself and irritate your son if you were to say, ‘I’m happy’ each time he does something that’s good. And it doesn’t really help him to hear that you’re happy; what is important is that he hears about what he has done right or what he has not done wrong. That’s the power of Descriptive Praise. So we need to train ourselves to change our old habits.


    Q. I understand about Descriptive Praise for the OK behaviour. But are you saying I should just ignore the bad behaviour?

    A. No! Many parenting books and articles advise parents to ignore misbehaviour and to reward good behaviour with positive attention. But ignoring misbehaviour is difficult to do consistently, unless you're a saint, because a child whose misbehaviour is being ignored is likely to escalate the misbehaviour to try and get your attention. If by ignoring you mean trying to pretend he is not being annoying, he will probably re-double his efforts in order to get the usual reaction.

    What is much more effective than ignoring is to look at your child but say nothing. Wait in silence until there is a pause in the annoying behaviour, and then Descriptively Praise the absence of the negative. 

    Senior online community officer
  • IndependentSupportServices
    IndependentSupportServices Member Posts: 54 Courageous
    Hi @curvycampbell

    For support with dealing with the school to try and get strategies in place which will work at school and home, you can contact your local SEND Information, Advice and Support Service. Search for 'local SENDIASS' and you should be able to find details but if you have any problems, get back in touch and let me know where you are in the country.

    Contact A Family is an organisation which can answer questions and offer advice on all aspects of disability. They also offer peer support where they can put you in touch with someone in your local area who may be having similar issues so you can share information with someone who understands

    I work in Norfolk and we have the West Norfolk Deaf Association which can offer practical advice as well as supporting you to liaise with the school. You may have something similar in your area.

    Good luck with moving forward, I hope you find the support you need.


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