A Parent's Wish List for Audiologists:
The Parent Perspective
- We wish for a Partnership
- We wish for Honesty
- We wish for Information
- We wish for Amplification Choices
- We wish for Communication Options
1. We Wish for a Partnership
- As a professional, you bring to the process: Education, experience, expertise, and dedication.
- We as parents bring a lifelong commitment, seeing our child as a whole, responsibility, the right to make choices for our child, a parent's love, family priorities and values.
- Take a longer view beyond birth to three. What perspectives are needed as we consider our child as a future student, adult, and accepted member of society?
- Working at being nonbiased allows both the audiologist and family members freedom to explore options, increased trust, and an escalation of hope.
- As soon as possible, engage with our growing child during appointments, giving them increasing influence, responsibility and opportunities for self-advocacy.
- Hold space for us and be sensitive to post-partum, adoption, late-identification or other complex issues in your delivery of information.
2. We Wish for Honesty
- If you don't have experience in working with infants/kids, refer us to someone who does! Explain to us that Infant/Pediatric Audiology" is a specialty area.
- Give your professional opinion, but please don't deliver your opinion in "absolutes".
- If we ask a question, and you don't have the answer, help us find the resources to find an answer or ask better questions.
3. We Wish for Information
- We want to know where we are in the screening or diagnostic process.
- Provide us with family-friendly information to make well-informed decisions: on research, progressive loss, all of it.
- Connect us to Early Intervention, Family Support, and Deaf/hh Role Model Programs and other community resources.
- Give information in writing. Don’t decide for us when you think we are ready. Give us pamphlets and phone numbers, websites and parent groups. Give us questions to ask audiologists and early interventionists.
- Our need for information grows and changes as our children grow. Help us understand “the system”, Part C, Childfind, and understanding the law, IDEA and ADA (504 Plans).
- Respect the choices that families make. Let us, the parents, make the final decision.
4. We Wish for Choices in Amplification
- Give us choices in amplification options, and assistive technology or other products that will be helpful.
- Tell us about equipment you don't distribute as a dealer. Don’t assume we want the cheapest, most preferred, easiest, most readily available, nor the smallest hearing aid available. Allow us to make these choices.
- Tell us about funding options, or lack thereof if that is the case.
- Tell us that the time period allowed (often more than 30 days) to try out a hearing aid. Tell us that they have reconditioned aids at lower cost available. Tell us about extended warranties. Tell us about loaner aids.
- Tell us about earmold modifications.
- Help us problem-solve with strategies and devices to help keep hearing aids on our infants and toddlers and out of their mouths, and the dog's mouth!
- Talk to us about progressive hearing loss incidence and watch for this in our child.
- We ask that you be patient and willing to test children with many different types of aids until the best possible results are achieved.
5. We Wish for Choices in Communication
- It is about Language and Communication, not methodology.
- Deafness is not about hearing, but about communication and language.
- Discovering what works is what makes the choice right!
- Choosing a method is a process that is flexible, ongoing, and changeable.
- Early identification allows families a window of time to explore all of our options. If we didn’t get that time, please refer us to organizations that can help us close gaps.
- The communication option(s) chosen are less significant than how well they suit a particular child.
- Finding the right communication option(s) is a combination of family choice, careful and ongoing assessment, resources in the community in which you live, and resources within your own family.
- Families want the end result to be a W.A.S.K! (a Well-Adjusted Successful Kid, whatever that looks like for the individual child.)
What Parents Say:
- "I wish my audiologist would read prior information on my child's hearing before we sat down with them."
- "My wish would be that as part of every audiologist’s training and in every appropriate situation, they have an opportunity to learn from parents of deaf/hh kids and learn from parent/family perspectives."
- "I wish that my audiologist would realize that what my son can hear in a soundproof booth is not what they hear in their classroom or the outside world."
- "I wish that the audiologist would not pretend that everything was okay or sugar-coat the results. Give me the reality and I will figure out how to handle the information."
- “When my audiologist truly listened to me, and eventually my daughter, we came up with better solutions through our long relationship during the early identification and school years.”
- “I wish audiologists would be open to accept the experience of parents.”
- “I am thrilled that my audiologist realized that achieving language and communication were paramount for my Deaf/Hard of hearing Plus child by any method.
© Hands & Voices 2021