Installment 6: Constructive Ways to Deal with Emotions

Today’s post is from a special contributor, Camillia J. Lynch.  She is working on her Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling.

#SelfAdvocacySunday-Constructive ways to deal with emotions
#SelfAdvocacySunday-Constructive ways to deal with emotions

Kevin J. Donaldson stated, “Remember NO ONE has the right to control your emotions, thoughts, and actions unless you let them.”

It is normal to experience various kinds of emotions or feelings because it is okay to feel. Sometimes, it may be uncomfortable to experience negative emotions or feelings such as anger, sadness, disappointment, fear, anxiety, etc. However, it is important to be aware of how you are feeling inside. It is helpful to be able to understand how to handle emotions in a healthy way. Unhealthy ways can include denial, withdrawal, bullying or self-harm.

Remember NO ONE has the right to control your emotions, thoughts, and actions unless you let them
Remember NO ONE has the right to control your emotions, thoughts, and actions unless you let them.

To start, it is various to think about how you may express your emotions, change your moods, and recognizing specific ways would help you to manage your emotions.  It will take time for you to figure out what works best for you. Sometimes, a particular activity will work for a time when you are trying to manage anger, but it may not work when you are sad. It is okay to try several different ways to help you to work through negative emotions. One way may work for you but not for others. If you are not sure, feel free to ask your friends or family members to help you to figure out.  It is important to use healthy ways because it won’t you while you handle negative or stressful emotions.

There are many different ways to deal with stressful/negative emotions such as:

  • Create a personal diary or journal to help you to track your thoughts, feelings, and experiences
  • Paint or draw as a way to express yourself through pictures
  • Eat healthy snacks
  • Punch a pillow
  • Let yourself cry
  • Rip paper into small pieces
  • Take a nap
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Reorganize your room
  • Go outside to play with siblings or friends
  • Read positive statements or affirmations
  • Be kind to yourself instead of being hard on yourself
  • Speak up for yourself.
  • Play with a pet
  • Go for a walk, ride your bike, rollerblade, or go skating
  • Listen to music that fits your mood
  • Talk to someone you trust to ask for help or support
  • Use humor to make yourself laugh by sharing jokes or watching funny television shows or movies
  • Dance as a fun way to exercise and release your negative emotions or stress
  • Take some deep breaths to help relieve tension and to think clearly
  • Walking away and taking some time out
  • Take time to relax before trying again
  • Spend time with a loved one, an/or asking for a hug or cuddle
  • Try to solve your problems with words
  • There are many other activities to try out! What are your favorites?

Installment 6: Knowledge of Hearing Loss

#SelfAdvocacySunday-Knowledge of hearing loss
#SelfAdvocacySunday-Knowledge of hearing loss

Another crucial piece of #self-advocacy is for a child to be able to understand his or her hearing loss and explain it to another person. Imagine the confidence she will have when she, not her mom, says “These are hearing aids. I am hard of hearing and these help me hear you so we can talk!”

Hands and Voices explains:

–A dad is preparing dinner while his 4-year-old son vies for full visual attention from him. Dad can explain (and will again, for years to come) that he can hear the child without looking at him.

–A 4th grader rises from her chair in class to shut the curtains when she can’t see the teacher in the glare of the sunlight.

–A 17 year old senior shares his own goals for the year at his final IEP meeting, having asked ahead of time to put the IEP on transparencies and use an overhead projector.

When a child understands his own hearing loss, it makes comprehending needed accommodations much easier. Starting early, a child can grasp simple concepts like:

“I ‘hear’ better when I can see you talking.”
“I can explain to you what my hearing aid does for me.”

As a child’s cognitive abilities mature, this changes to:

–“I need to sit closer if I want to get the most out of this.”
–“It helps me to tell the substitute that I need directions in writing.”
–“My cochlear implant processor isn’t working correctly. I need to get an appointment and let the interpreters know before 1st period.”
–“I really get the best scores in classes with CART (computer assisted Real Time Captioning); that’s what I want for my college lectures.”

Need a place to start with how to help your child explain their hearing loss? Check out our Advocacy Board on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/beginningssc/advocacy/

Advocacy Board image from Pinterest
Advocacy Board image from Pinterest

Installment 5: #SelfAdvocacySunday

#SelfAdvocacySunday-Active participant in a variety of settings

Hi, there! Happy last Sunday of 2018, and last #SelfAdvocacySunday post of the year, too.

This post not only helps with self-advocacy, it also helps with getting back into the routine of school.  A tool that is immensely beneficial at home and at school is a visual schedule. A visual schedule is great for all kids, but for kids with a hearing loss it provides structure and helps with transitions, sets the stage for great language to happen, and can reduce behavior problems and anxiety.  Children like to have some control over what is happening in their life; kids who are deaf or hard of hearing are no different. Visual schedules can lead to greater independence as well.

At school, especially for younger students, there is probably a standard routine for morning arrival…Put coats on coat rack, put backpacks in cubbies, make your lunch choice and come sit on the carpet.  A visual schedule will remind the students what to do, with pictures conveying meaning as well as words.

At home, anything that is done can be turned into a visual schedule…how to set the table, how to play a game, or how to brush teeth.  You can start with some easy ones. Understood.org has several ready-made, or you can make your own. Getting Ready for School, Getting Ready for Bed, Afterschool Routine, and Cleaning Bedroom.

Afterschool Routine Visual Schedule

Best is to practice the schedule before the actual time to use the schedule.  Do some role-play and run through the events. Make sure you use lots of language!  Make sure that your child knows all the steps before you expect him/her to go through the schedule semi-independently.  Start this before your child(ren) return to school after this winter break and see what a difference it makes.

Installment #4: #SelfAdvocacySunday

Guest Blogger: Gina Viruso, LSW

#SelfAdvocacySunday-Aware of self as a deaf or hard of hearing individual

Besides being able to identify different emotions that lead to the development of skills to be able to self-advocate, it is important that children have an understanding of who they are.  I strongly believe that without understanding their own self identity, children are unable to feel the confidence needed in order to self-advocate.  According to the dictionary, Self-identity refers to the descriptive characteristics, qualities and abilities that individuals use to define themselves.  

I Like Myself!

Children with full access to spoken language are able to receive many messages through vicarious learning, with some added knowledge from parents.  However, children with a hearing loss can misinterpret–or completely miss–the messages or cues they receive within their social settings.

Some of the steps you can assist your child to understand their self identity include:

  • Encourage your child to value him/herself based on their unique capabilities, such as their:
    • academic, athletic, or artistic achievements
    • relationship with family and friends,
    • passions and interests
    • anything they believe, feel, or do that originates from inside of themselves  
    • Keep in mind that even their hearing loss is part of their self-identity.
  • Your children can be exposed to messages and images that are entirely out of touch with reality, such as “only hearing people can perform better without much talent or effort.”  Parents need to  constantly expose your child to the real world, to beliefs and people grounded in positive values, to accurate images of appropriate behavior/reasonable expectations/consequences/suitable responsibilities, and the inevitable imperfections, challenges and failures that are part of the human condition.
  • Encourage your child to participate in activities they love doing.  Praise and point out their skills and talents.
  • Point out and share your own self-identity with your child and encourage your child to come up with aspects of who they are.  Younger children may come up with concrete examples including physical images and abilities.
  • Talk and listen to your child.  Listen to his/her messages, how he/she expresses ideas, as well as  emotions and behaviors. This will help you will be better able to understand what they’re trying to tell you. Also, do not be afraid to talk to your child especially on topics that may make you uncomfortable or they may not want to hear.  You can always ask friends how they discussed that difficult topic!
  • Encourage your child to come up with things about themselves.  Even if your child is not comfortable or happy about some things about themselves.  Many children with hearing loss will feel insecure about their hearing loss and its impacts.  Be realistic and understanding but also indicate the benefits/positive sides. For example, if your child says “I am afraid to participate in a group conversation because I cannot follow everyone,”  you can respond with “I know it is difficult, but by having a one on one conversation, you have the benefit of having the person’s full attention whereas when in a group everyone tends to talk and others loss track.” 

If this is overwhelming, or you need another approach, here is a great book, I Like Myself! 

Installment #3: #SelfAdvocacySunday

Holidays mean one thing for parents–Lots of togetherness with their children!  Lets use it to continue working on IDENTIFYING EMOTIONS.     Routines are going to be shifted…there might be longer-than-normal days…you will probably be seeing family and friends that you don’t normally see…All of that equalling a chance for BIG EMOTIONS.  Remember, transitions and unknown events can cause anxiety in all children, especially the child with a hearing loss that might not know where he/she is going on Thanksgiving Day.  [Insert reminder of incidental language and directly providing language to your DHH child.]  
 
Use this time as an opportunity to explain the different schedule and the people you will be seeing-use pictures if you can.  Use the gatherings to model emotional language, such as “It’s been a long day and Mommy is tired and a little grumpy.  I can’t wait to get home and relax and start to feel restful again.”  If [when] big emotions happen–positive and negative—label them! “It ISso exciting to be able to go to Auntie Trish’s house.”  “It looks like you are feeling scared that Carl’s dog will jump on you. That dog is thrilled to have a little girl to play with. Let’s ask Carl is he will help calm the dog.”   
 
We love family pictures! Take lots and review them with your child several times. “How was Grandma feeling?”  “Look at your sister!  She was being so silly.”  
 
Make sure that your child who has a hearing loss is included in the events.  If someone is laughing, explain why.  If there is a child crying, tell your child what is happening. As Fred Rogers said, “When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”  And for our kiddos who are deaf or hard of hearing, talking about emotions and feelings helps connect them with others and begins creating empathy towards others. 

Installment 2: #SelfAdvocacySunday

#SelfAdvocacySunday-A child who is deaf or hard of hearing will be aware of emotions and feelings in self and others


Last week
 we posted about #SelfAdvocacy skills for preschool and early elementary school children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  This week, it is much of the same, but with more complexity. Remember, The first step in #SelfAdvocacy is Self-Awareness; being able to recognize and express emotions, explaining his/her hearing loss and what accommodations work for him/her, and knowing constructive ways to manage feelings.  If your child is 14 but hasn’t mastered these “earlier” skills, start here.  If these have been mastered, go to the next level. 

Feelings wheel-Happy, excited, tender, scared, angry and sad

Review from last week: Early (typically preschool):

  • Identifies one’s likes, dislikes, needs, wants, strengths and challenges. 
  • Recognizes and labels emotions/feelings
  • Describes the situation that causes various emotions, such as a birthday party, someone taking your toy, etc.

Emerging (early elementary): 

  • Distinguishes range of emotions
  • Describes physical responses to emotions
  • Recognizes and discusses how emotions are linked 

New skills for older children:

 Intermediate (late elementary):

  • Recognized negative emotions
  • Links negative emotions to situations in need of attention
  • Analyzes emotional states that contribute to or detract from personal problem solving/decision making
  • Explains possible outcomes/results associated with expressing personal emotions

Advanced (completed by the end of high school): 

  • Distinguishes own feelings verses expressing/accepting what other “expect” them to feel
  • Describes event or thought process that causes an emotion
  • Understands the effects of self-talk on emotions
  • Describes how this interpretation of an event may alter feelings about it

The most important part of all of this, is PARENTS AND TEACHERS HAVE TO USE THE LANGUAGE OF EMOTIONS.    I can not stress that enough; for a child to have “typical” social-emotional interactions, he/she MUST have lots of experiences. If you have all these words from Emotions and Feelings then go to the next level. From Dr. John Luckner 2017 presentation, the next level of emotional labeling should include these variations of the core emotions.  Post these around the house and get talking/signing!