“I Feel Good!": A Guide to Support the Mental Health and Well-Being of Children and Youth Who Are Deaf/deaf and Hard of Hearing in Ontario’s Schools” (Guide) was developed collaboratively by VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children and the Canadian Hearing Society. This guide offers a compilation of information, strategies, and resources that promote healthy social and emotional development and is relevant to all adults who are part of the lives of children who are Deaf/deaf or hard of hearing.

This resource, funded by the Ministry of Education[1], is designed to help parents and educators distinguish among problems that are age-related and developmentally appropriate, those related to the impact of a hearing loss[2], and those behaviours that may be indicative of more serious mental health and social/emotional concerns. This guide was developed to complementSupporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Well-being, a resource developed by the Ministry of Education which provides educators with information on the early signs of mental health and addictions problems, along with strategies that can be used in the classroom to support students. This document can be accessed athttp://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/SupportingMinds.pdf.

It is essential that all children be given the best start in childhood and adolescence in terms of their mental health and well-being. We hope that you find information and resources in this guide to better understand children and the impact of their hearing loss in order to make good decisions that will promote healthy social and emotional development.

This Guide has been developed to offer proactive and pro-social strategies as well as tools to educators and parents of children who are Deaf/deaf and hard of hearing  who may be experiencing social and/or emotional problems related to their hearing loss. Mental health exists on a continuum and if you have any serious concerns about a child’s mental health, we encourage you to consult with your family doctor and school resource team. In addition, if you would like advice from or referrals to professionals who have experience with students who are Deaf/deaf or hard of hearing, contact VOICE atwww.voicefordeafkids.com or the Canadian Hearing Society at www.chs.ca.

Both VOICE and CHS obtained significant support in the researching and writing of the information contained in this document through contributions from researchers in the Childhood Hearing Loss Laboratory at the University of Toronto and the Department of Psychology King's University College at the University of Western Ontario.

 

[1] The views and opinions expressed in this guide are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province, Ministry of Education and its staff.

[2] For the purposes of the 'I Feel Good' guide, the term 'hearing loss' may refer to either a partial or total inability to hear.