Raising children is hard, but when you have a child who has a hearing or a visual disability, it takes parenting to a whole new level. Every activity can turn into a challenge, and this can make it hard to teach your little one the basics. Try altering the activities to make them better suited for a child with a hearing or visual disability. A little adjustment can go a long way to making your toddler's or preschooler's time more enjoyable and fun.
1. Sensory-Related Activities
If your little one has a sensory disability, like hearing loss or blindness, she can still have a great time enjoying all of her other senses. As a mom, you might like planning out fun field trips for your children, and you can still do this; just plan outings that are centered around some of the other senses. Take your child to visit a petting zoo where she can pet and feed different animals. Some ranches or farms also offer horse therapy lessons for children with visual or hearing impairments as well. Or, you can put together a few activities that are sensory-related, such as filling bowls with different materials and covering them up for your child to feel and guess. Fill a bowl full of dried beans, cotton balls or even gelatin, and your child will have a blast feeling the gooey or lumpy things and trying to guess what they are!
2. Cooking and Baking
Does your little one love to help you make things in the kitchen? Cooking and baking can be ideal activities for children, regardless of their disabilities. To accommodate your child's hearing or visual impairment, use recipes that are designed for people with these disabilities. Get a few recipe cards that are written in Braille if you have a blind child who is learning how to read. Or, choose colorful and bright pictorial recipe cards for a child who has a hearing impairment. This will also show your child that just because he has a disability, he can still get along in the world and can still make delicious meals. Consider making recipes that are fragrant, like baking an apple pie, baking blueberry muffins or cooking a pot of vegetable soup.
3. Arts and Crafts
Children are naturally creative, which may become apparent when they decorate your bathroom mirrors with soap or give your walls a beautiful coating of pudding handprints. Direct your child with a visual or hearing impairment to use her creativity in a positive way by getting out art supplies that she can use to create a beautiful work of art. Even a child with no vision can apply paint onto a sheet of paper, so don't be afraid to let your child experience the joy of painting, even if she cannot see the finished work. Sculpting is a hands-on art activity that your child may enjoy, so get out multiple balls of colored clay or salt dough, craft sticks, cookie cutters and rolling pins, and let your little one go to town sculpting a masterpiece.
4. Charity Work
It can be easy for a child with a hearing or visual disability to feel sorry for herself. Don't let your little one go down a path of "poor me." Everyone has troubles and difficulties in life, and knowing this can help a disabled child appreciate what she has, instead of wishing for something she doesn't have. Show your toddler or preschooler how to give to others who are less fortunate than herself. Bake cookies with your child to bring down to a shelter for homeless women and children, bring your little one with you to give a hand knit blanket to a child who is in a hospital for cancer or put together holiday gifts for children who suffer from poverty. These little experiences can shape your child's self-awareness and will give her a greater sense of self-worth as she helps other people.