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How To Make Family Gatherings Inclusive And Easy For People With Hearing Impairment?

The holiday season is just around the corner and it is a call for intimate small family gatherings. Family gatherings are an important part of our social life that allow us to strengthen our bond with close friends and extended family members. But unfortunately, this amazing time can also become the most dreaded moment for your child or someone else who has a hearing challenge. Keeping up with conversations at family gatherings, and tracking the conversations is difficult for them, and they can feel left out all along in the party. Communication Modalities such as listening, speaking, manual communication, bi-lingual conversation using ASL, or a mix of all of the above can help you make your party as much fun for them as for you. Furthermore, to help you make your family gatherings more inclusive and thoughtful for the people with deafness here are a few tips.

Before the gathering   

Talk to the child or guest with hearing impairment about the challenges they might come across during the holiday gathering. 

You can choose to share the list with your child or guest for making them more comfortable around new people they are coming across.  

Make sure your child has a backup of batteries if he/she uses a hearing gear.

Consider hiring an ASL translator, or you can also use mobile phones, tablets, and laptops to facilitate communication between guests and specially challenged people. However, using tablets, mobile phones and laptops can be a huge task, as you have to consider a lot of other things and set a ground rule of using the device at the event, which is exhausting. 

Important things to set up 

If your child uses an FM system, then it is recommended to place it at the center on the table making it easy to pick up speech. 

You can choose to have conversation starters on the card at the table making it easy for guests to communicate to people with a hearing challenge. 

If your guest or child uses ASL, then you can choose to hire from ASL translation services to make it easy for your guest and also specially challenged people at the party.  

If your gatherings include reading and listening sessions, then it is best to go for an ASL translator as taking turns for translating for people can be difficult for you. 

During the gathering 

You can choose to take turns to interpret for your child or the guest who has a hearing challenge and keep them included in a conversation. If you are not an ASL translator, it is better to leave if for professional ASL translation services 

There is a slight possibility that you feel self-conscious about using ASL for communicating but you must understand how important it is for your child and guest. 

Family gatherings and knowing more people and learning from their experiences are a huge help for your child with a hearing challenge, this opens them to possibilities. As they grow older, they will use this knowledge to make new connections with people and get success in their life. Hiring an ASL translator thus helps you facilitate a higher level of language for in-depth conversations between hearing people and challenged people.