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Practical tips for travelling with a child with hearing loss
By Jennifer Allen

Amie Joe is the mother of this issue’s guest editor, Angela Lynn. We asked her to share advice from her own experiences travelling with a child with hearing loss. The following are snippets of her best tips and sage advice gleaned from her own years of experience.

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1. Advance preparation

Always prepare your child for the upcoming excursion. Inform them ahead of time about the destination and what they should expect during the trip. This not only reduces anxiety but also fosters excitement and anticipation.

2. Effective communication tools

Ensure you have the necessary tools and strategies in place for effective communication with your child throughout the trip. Some key considerations include a notepad and pen for written communication—particularly useful for quick exchanges and notes.

3. Learn basic sign language 

If you don’t already know sign language, consider learning the alphabet and some basic signs. This should include emergency signs such as help, stop, yes, no, and my name is____. Basic sign language can be a lifeline in emergencies or situations where verbal communication isn’t possible.

4. Key travel phrases or signs 

Prepare a few essential phrases or signs related to travel, like hotel, bathroom, or food, to make communication smoother in new environments.

5. Emergency information

Ensure your child has emergency contact names and numbers on their person or at least in their suitcase. This is crucial in case your child gets separated from you or if you become ill and cannot respond to questions.

6. Utilize technology

Speech-to-text apps aid communication, especially in noisy or crowded settings.

7. 911 Emergency training 

Teach your child how to dial 911 in case of emergencies. Ensure they understand the importance of this emergency number and how to use it. Even if they are unable to speak, the 911 Operator can hear what’s going on, locate where they are, and send emergency assistance.

8. Thinking ahead

Always think ahead, considering your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Tailor your preparations to suit your child’s specific needs.

I also want to emphasize the importance of providing your child with an emergency number in case they get lost or encounter any difficulties during the trip. You can even instruct them on how to approach the police and ask them to call the provided number in case the family cannot be located. It’s about empowering your child with the knowledge and tools to handle unforeseen situations.

By following these tips and thinking ahead, you can make travelling with your child with hearing loss a rewarding and stress-free experience. It’s all about equipping yourself with the right tools and strategies to ensure effective communication and a memorable journey for both you and your child.

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