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Building social development in children with hearing loss – Confident Kids Facilitator Course

Building social development in children with hearing loss – Confident Kids Facilitator Course

Ingrid Steyns
Ingrid Steyns

Our aim with the Confident Kids courses facilitator courses is to train hearing health professionals to support social skill development in children with hearing loss using the Confident Kids courses with their own caseloads. It’s about supporting professionals to enhance how they work with families and build social skill development in children with hearing loss.

Upon completing a Confident Kids facilitator course, professionals become equipped with the skills to support children with hearing loss and educate their parents and caregivers.   

Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK), the leading provider of Auditory Verbal Therapy in the United Kingdom, had high expectations when they began our Confident Kids 1-2 years facilitator course. Having heard of other HearHub courses, they anticipated the content would be detailed, would integrate specialised topics such as ‘theory of mind’ and would incorporate key strategies such as ‘specific praise,’ and ‘child led play,’.

Make a difference with an age-based approach

We segment the Confident Kids facilitator course into age-based programs: 1-2 years, 4-5 years, and 6-8 years. Each program is tailored to address the specific needs of children with hearing loss in each age group, including aligned content for their parents and caregivers who support their children in everyday life.   

Age-based programs help to better address delays in social or theory of mind skills, identifying focus areas which support each child with hearing loss to make positive progress in their social development due content being designed explicitly for each age group and incorporating strategies and goals important for skill development within the age range.   

Representatives from AVUK observed that because the course is specific to the age-group, families gained practical insights each week that was useful for every family.   

“Because the course was specific to this age group, I felt every family gained something every week. Additionally, I liked the fact that the format was the same for each week, allowing for teaching time/group participation and practise time.” 

AVUK

Empower children with hearing loss – Theory of Mind

Our Confident Kids courses are based on   ]Theory of Mind – the understanding all people have their own thoughts, beliefs, knowledge and feelings. Knowing all people are inherently unique underpins social development. It helps one embrace individual and cultural difference throughout the boarder community and understand how to navigate a range of social situations.       

Tenants of theory of mind include understanding likes and dislikes, understanding emotions, understanding feelings, understanding prediction, understanding pretending versus reality as well as building thinking vocabulary.  

Understand likes and dislikes

Everyone is unique and thus registers life experience differently. Based on the way one perceives reality, people develop preferences for what they like and dislike. An important part of social development is being able to converse with others about their knowledge and beliefs even when they differ from one’s own. This helps people learn about others as well as expand one’s own horizons on what is possible.  

Understand emotions

Emotion is energy in motion. What one person experiences from the next at any given time can vary. It’s essential that children learn the range of emotions one can experience, develop a vocabulary to name and describe emotions and can hold space for other people’s emotions even when they differ from their own. From a young age, children typically learn what it means to be sad, happy, tired and angry. As they grow older, they start to conceptualise more nuanced emotions such as surprised, worried and relieved.   

Understand feelings

There are a multitude of factors that influence the way one feels. As well as learning to articulate how one feels, children need to recognise the reasons behind their feelings (e.g.  Hannah didn’t want to play at lunchtime today. It’s made me feel quite sad and left out). This enables children to engage in mature conversations about their state of being and for others to better understand them. 

Understand prediction

Whether it be deciding to bring an umbrella on a cloudy day or suspecting that another person might need help reaching items from the higher shelves that they can’t reach in a supermarket, there are many instances that require people to use predictive reasoning. A good way to build this skill in children is to read books with them while thinking out loud what might happen next. It’s best to use mental state language such as ‘I wonder…’ and ‘I think…’ ‘ He might…’ This empowers children to develop autonomous thoughts on what could or is likely to happen.  

Understand pretending versus reality

As children grow they begin to understand the difference between the real world and that of one’s imagination. When instilling this understanding in children, it’s best to use mental state language such as ‘let’s pretend to be mice’ or ‘let’s imagine there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.’ It allows children to explore their creativity while being grounded in the knowledge that not everything they imagine exists in the real world. 

Build thinking vocabulary

An extensive vocabulary is critical in being able to understand various ideas and intellectual paradigms. To help children expand their vocabularies, it’s important to use lots of mental state language (or thinking language) to describe one’s thoughts and feelings. This could include adverbs like know, remember, decide, forget, worry, wonder, ponder and want. This enables children to participate in deeper conversations and form a more nuanced understanding of the world around them.   

Having a framework to understand experience empowers children to have more meaningful interactions with others. Children learn to recognise their thoughts and emotions, articulate this to others and listen to other people share their experiences. This is what underpins human connection.

When AVUK underwent the Confident Kids 1-2 year facilitator course, they noted it provided a strong foundation for improving a child’s confidence. 

“In terms of outcomes, we were able to offer research-based resources to our families and bring families on our program to enable them to develop their child’s confidence.”

AVUK

Ready-made for hearing healthcare professionals

All of our Confident Kids facilitator courses have been tried and tested with positive results. These programs are designed to help hearing healthcare professionals support children with hearing loss and their families, and save hours of time in preparation. Instead of having to create their own course from start-to-finish, the resources and structure from Confident Kids is ready to use. It can be adapted to any clinical hearing practice to build social development in children with hearing loss.   

One of the aspects AVUK appreciated about the course was the time-saving benefit Confident Kids gives to professionals.

“Confident Kids saves a lot of time… It’s definitely worth running the course. It’s very accessible for the families and all the information is already there to run the course, very little planning is required from the professional’s side.”

AVUK

It’s so rewarding to see professionals benefiting from the Confident Kids 1-2 years facilitator course as well as the children and families. We thank AVUK for completing our course and for providing such positive feedback. We also look forward to seeing many more professionals help build social development in children with hearing loss.   

To learn more about the Confident Kids courses, please contact our expert team today. 

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