Setting Up Family Support

Setting up family support is an important step in your early intervention process. Families will need support from professionals, close friends and each other.

Professional Support

Professionals typically offer a variety of support experiences designed to help you cope with natural feelings you may be experiencing and also to learn more about your child's needs. Formal professional support may include:

  • Parent meetings
  • Contacts with other parents
  • Discussions on home visits
  • Providing information to read
  • Special workshops

Family Support

Research shows that informal support opportunities (e.g., family members, friends, neighbors, community groups, religious affiliations) are particularly helpful in promoting coping and learning. This may be as simple as meeting a close friend for coffee, or a dad shooting hoops with another dad who offers understanding.

It helps to have someone close who will listen and try to understand both your struggles and your triumphs. You are in the best position to identify who in your life matches that description.

How to Support Your Family

Those who are close to you and your baby need support, just like you do.

For example, if your baby uses hearing aids or cochlear implants everyone at home should know how they work. If you are working on spoken language with your child, everyone in the family should be on board about ways to encourage learning through listening. Similarly, if you have chosen to use sign language when communicating with your child, all family members will need to learn to sign too.

There are other kinds of support as well. Family members will have questions about your child and will need to talk about their feelings. It can be hard to convey everything you are learning to members of the family. They may be at different places in their acceptance of what is needed for your child. This is something you can talk with your infant/family specialist about.  Together you can plan for how to address family questions and learning needs. 

Visit the Parent-to-Parent section for additional tips about involving other family members. As your baby grows and you learn about his or her hearing loss, you too will be a good source of support for your family.

How Your Family Can Support You

Your family members can also support you. As they become accustomed to your baby's hearing-related needs, they will understand what you need to do and how they can help. By helping extended family members learn what you are learning, you will expand your baby's circle of loving people, and your own circle of support. People in your community may not know much about being deaf or hard of hearing, and your family's understanding will be appreciated.