When making plans for your family be sure to consider the needs of your child who is deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). Your child needs a lot of rest and sleep, so carefully consider how their time is used during school and in the evenings. Leave room for the “down time” your child needs to recharge after school and after evening activities to settle in at night.
It is important to review the schedule with your child daily. Create an age appropriate family calendar to see appointments in advanced. For example, “Today is Monday, on Tuesday your Deaf Mentor comes, and on Wednesday we go to the Audiologist and you will miss the last hour of school.” Also, point out “free-time” where they can choose their own activities. Share the schedule in a way your child will understand and be able to process the information.
When making appointments for your child think about times that are the least disruptive to their current schedule. Do they mind missing school? If they have to miss a class, which is easier to make-up? How well does he or she transition? For appointments where your child needs to be at their best consider the time of day that is optimal for them. Is your child more alert in the morning or the afternoon? Does your child attend better before or after a meal? When is your child sleepy during the day? Appointments will go more smoothly if they can be scheduled when your child is content.
Families can lighten the weekly schedule by attending community events held on weekends or days school is out. Consistent sleep is important on weekend nights, too. Opportunities in the community and other activities are hard to pass up, but you will always be glad you put your child’s personal needs first.