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November Newsletter


Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children at the Holiday Dinner Table

Christmas 2011 Preston

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Holidays can be a stressful time for children and parents alike, but also a warm and happy time filled with family, friends, and good food. 


If you are parenting a deaf or hard of hearing child, a busy, crowded, noisy holiday dinner table can present some special challenges for your family.  Even a mild or unilateral hearing loss can make following several conversations around a big table over background noise nearly impossible, and if you have guests who are unfamiliar with your family’s communication method that will certainly add to the challenge. 

Before the guests start to gather, give your child an overview of the day.  Remind him of names and relationships for people he may not remember, and explain whatever activities are planned.  During the party, try to keep your child involved in the conversation as much as possible, as opposed to just translating everything as if you were a living closed family dinner tablecaption.  The interpretation is important, but it is also important that your child feels like part of the family and not an outside observer.  If your child asks “what did he say,” or “why is everyone laughing,” don’t answer that you will tell him later, or that it wasn’t important.  That kind of response tells your child that you don’t think it is worth your time to include him in the group.  Be mindful of background noise like music, and be patient if your child feels a little overwhelmed and plays shy.


With typical hearing I still got caught a couple of times this year not keeping up with the conversation I was in while I was trying to catch pieces of a different one.  Toss in an oven timer going off in the next room, and I was completely out of luck.  It is important to remember, when surrounded at that noisy table, that you are not alone, and I am not referring to your great aunt who drove all the way up from Florida, although that sure was nice of her.  Holiday tables have long been a challenge for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.  We're with you!  Below is a list of links to some stories and suggestions that might help.


Ho Ho Huh? Ideas for Surviving the Holidays and Other Occasions, by Lorna Irwin, Idaho Hands & Voices


Socialization: Tips for Parents from a Deaf Author


Socialization and the Child who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing


Idioms, by Leeanne Seaver 


And remember, this is supposed to be fun!

family dinner1


Great Coffee for a Great Cause

The Good Java Company
The Good Java Company in Lancaster, PA sells USDA Certified Organic Fair Trade Coffee.  It is a great product, and one you can feel good about.  


Delaware Families for Hands & Voices will receive $0.50 per 8 ounce bag our friends purchase.  In order for us to receive the donation, you must enter “Hands and Voices” in the sales code box at checkout.  


Thank you!

In This Issue:
  • Upcoming Events
  • Tips for Holiday Gatherings
  • Buy some great coffee

Our next chapter meeting will be January 22  at 6PM at TLK Academy in Peoples Plaza, Glasgow.  Child care can be provided on request. 
December 8, 5-7:30 pm, Deaf Camps, Inc Christmas Party, Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf, 1040 S Beechfield Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. Admission is $5 for children, and includes signing Santa, ASL Storytelling, Snacks, Crafts, and 1 free picture with Santa per child. Parents are free with child's admission.
December 14, Nemours Cochlear Implant Program Holiday Party, 5-7PM, at AI DuPont Hospital for Children, Classroom 1, for more info or to RSVP, contact Amanda Mangiardi at, or 302-651-6555. Please bring a wrapped gift with your child's name on it for our special visitor to pass out.
January 25, 5:30-7:30pm, Winter Family Learning Series: Positive Discipline (includes strategies for potty training), dinner and child care provided, ASL/Spanish Interpreters upon request, 630 E Chestnut Hill Rd, Newark. For more info contact Tara Kelly at or (302)397-7752
March 12, 5:30-7:30pm, Winter Family Learning Series: Learning Through Play, dinner and child care provided, ASL/Spanish Interpreters upon request, 630 E Chestnut Hill Rd, Newark. For more info contact Tara Kelly at or (302)397-7752
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Delaware Families for Hands and Voices
TLK, Peoples Plaza
Newark, Delaware 19708

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