Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from Savannah, GA

My daughter is 2 years old. She has severe/profound hearing loss and has had a cochlear implant for about 10 months. She is also developmentally delayed, however her comprehension and communication skills are continuously advancing. I am having problems implementing discipline with her. She understands the word “no” but often ignores it. She laughs if I spank her hand and constantly tests me by taking her CI off and throwing it. She is too young for a stool type time out. I have recently started putting her in her crib for time out. Any suggestions on how I may begin to curb her behavior before it gets too out of hand? I know she is in the terrible 2′s, but I think its a little worse than it should be.

Question from Savannah, GA. Posted September 14, 2010.
Response from Jennifer Adams - NTID

The first thing to do is to decide if her behavior always happens during certain times.  For example, does she always misbehave when you are busy with other things.  This might mean she has found that being naughty will get your attention.  Another example might be that she only misbehaves when her implant is on.  That could mean several different things about the implant or how your daughter is “hearing” what’s coming through the implant.  Your daughter’s audiologist or speech therapist (as a first point of contact) should be called in to help.

If there does not seem to be a pattern to when she misbehaves, then the two words for you are consistency and redirection.  You need to decide which “rules” are the most important to enforce.  Don’t pick too many as to overwhelm your daughter, but do make sure they are the most important rules to you. For example, no crossing the street without an adult; say please and thank you when you want something.  Then be consistent in your expectations about those rules and make sure your daughter follows through with them.  Consistently direct your daughter to do what it is you want her to do; when you catch her about to break a rule, redirect her attention to an appropriate activity.  This all sounds simple, but takes a lot of work on the parent’s part.  Don’t give up!  This will take a while, but once she realizes that you will not waver in what you expect her to do, she will begin to follow the rules.