The development of guidelines for hearing parents parenting a children with hearing loss.
Davids, Ronel Sanet
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Parenting children with a hearing loss presents hearing parents with unique parenting challenges. Adapting to and managing these challenges is dependent on parents’ personal and social support as well as the resources available to them. There is limited research regarding hearing parents’ personal and social support and access to appropriate resources. In order to bridge this gap, the aim of the study was to develop guidelines for hearing parents parenting children with a hearing loss. A mixed methods approach with a sequential explanatory design using a two-phased approach was employed in this study. Phase 1 endeavoured to identify the problem and explore the needs of parents by using a staged approach. The sample in this phase included 103 participants in the quantitative study and 13 participants in the qualitative study. Phase 2 applied a consensus workshop made up of two rounds: Round 1 comprised a panel of experts, namely, academics in the field of child, family, and disability studies, and Round 2 included a panel of stakeholders comprised of hearing parents, professionals, Deaf mentors, and leaders working within the field of hearing loss. The purpose of the workshop was to reach consensus on the development of guidelines. From this research, a number of guidelines emerged for parents, focusing on:1) early intervention programmes for hearing parents and children diagnosed with a hearing loss, highlighting guidance and counselling for parents on early identification and screening programmes; 2) the need for social and emotional support to deal with the emotional impact of the diagnosis on the family, the parents, as well as the child with a hearing loss; 3) access to resources and information which is comprehensive and unbiased, allowing parents to make informed choices; and 4) support for communication intervention whereby parents are offered unbiased support in terms of communication options for their children. This study has important implications for the collaboration and partnerships between parents, social services (social workers), and health and family practitioners for the provision of family-centred practices.