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Individuals who are deaf mainly rely on their vision to understand their world, as well as communication. In most cases children with hearing loss, just like in Michael's case possess additional disabilities. The primary impact of hearing loss on developing children, such as in Michael's case, places the development of communication at risk. Since communication skills are critical to sustaining social contact and shaping social development, when such skill is affected, the observed social incompetency may manifest.
Positive behavioural intervention plans enhance the acquisition and application of new alternative skills, minimize the problem behavior, and facilitate overall enhancements in the quality of life of the subject, his peers, or the family. The core aim of the plan is to aid Michael to develop sufficient social skills that aids him to gain positive acceptance and support from both his family and peers.
One of the strategies that can be employed in this intervention plan details teaching positive communication skills that promote positive experiences with others. The intervention plan should teach the child coping strategies and must be proactive and strength based. The paper explores the presented scenario and offers suggestions on enhancing social development.
Learning to successfully interact with others forms one of the most significant facets within a Michael's social development, with far-reaching implications. Nevertheless, majority of the children acquire social skills by example, children with hearing loss may have difficulty making and keeping friends and gaining social competence since studies indicate that they have been shown to usually interact less compared to their peers. Social competence infers skills crucial for successful interpersonal meaning. Earlier intervention for children with hearing loss is critical in enhancing the long-term outcomes for the children, especially in shaping social and cognitive development. Early intervention for children with hearing loss aids the children to develop both expressive and receptive language abilities of the children. The early intervention will aid the family to communicate naturally to the child regarding everyday experiences, especially using sign language (Crosson-Tower, 2009).
The first step towards aiding children with social immaturity details simply spending adequate time together. This may encompass interacting with the child or engaging in other age-appropriate activities that allow an individual to mold and instruct social skills that Michael indicates deficit in under the guise of play. Since Michael manifest problems playing with peers, it essential to create play dates that bear structured activities that guide social interaction. The objective, in this case, is to build skills and confidence by availing whatever support is needed to guarantee successful social encounters (Gregory, Bishop & Sheldon, 1995).
Why Michael is unable to make friends
In the presented scenario, social skills are poor or under developed, which translates to negative impact on social development. Difficulties in social development may have significant impact on self-esteem and confidence, which, in turn, impacts on Michael's relationship with peers and family. Michael's lack of success to make friends stems largely from inability to communicate. This stems largely from the fact that Michael, his family, or friends may be incompetent in using sign language. Indeed, frequently, other children do not respond to Michael when he tries to talk interact with them. The social immaturity that is evident in Michael's case derives from straining of relations with the family and friends owing to inability to understand everything that Michael communicates via lip reading. The deprivation of the listening experience, lack of an early intervention program, and the limited occasions for practice and use of the sign language may have led exhibited social immaturity. This may explain why Michael has faced considerable difficulties in his attempt to make friends (Reivich, Shatté & Gillham, 2002).
How Michael's disabilities interfere with his social development
The capability to for individuals with hearing loss to communicate with themselves plus others forms one of the biggest problems that they face within the society. Even in the present day, individuals with hearing loss are still prejudiced owing to the perceived lack of understanding and ignorance of what it means to have hearing loss.
There is logic behind the observed social inadequacy and the challenge is to understand its context. Since Michael cannot hear, his peers might think that they are being ignored leading to misunderstanding (Musselman, Mootilal & MacKay, 1996). The frustration emanating from unsatisfactory communication between Michael, his family, or friends may have had a significant impact on Michael's behavior, and his social development. This perhaps explains why Michael has little contact with children from the neighborhood and does not play with the children despite frequently having play dates.
Possible Solutions to Michael's Scenario
Understanding the motivation behind the social immaturity is critical to changing the attitudes. Creating positive behavioural interventions entails teaching behaviours that are expected, modeling those behaviours, consistently recognizing and rewarding the actions when they manifest, and constantly enforcing significant outcomes for the instituted behavioural involvements. Different strategies may be needed to aid Michael gain social maturity and institute constructive peer relations. The intervention plan highlights personal and interpersonal skills that encompass prosocial skills training (Gregory, Bishop & Sheldon, 1995). Sometimes behavior modification programs or interventions are employed to instill alternate behavior strategies. One of the strategies encompasses social skills training whose purpose is to aid Michael to learn how to treat his peers in positive ways.
This may also entail teaching Michael how to be a member of a group, and significant of all, how to develop and sustain a conversation with peers. Other kills taught may also encompass negotiation, overcoming feelings of frustration (anger management), especially those stemming from difficulties in sustaining a conversation due to the hearing loss. Other activities detail guiding Michael on the use of the social skills and availing support and positive feedback, especially with regard to manifestation ofsocially skillful behavior (Crosson-Tower, 2009).
The intervention plan may entail lifestyle interventions inclusive of a comprehensive behavior intervention plan detailing helping Michael to have opportunities to make friends, assisting him access events or activities of interest. Learning social skills manifest a pay off with regard to making Michael's life to be more enjoyable and desirable so that he can attain more reasons to use them.
The next strategy details the development of replacement behaviours that are meaningful to the subject. An affective replacement must fit within the natural environment and seeks to teach Michael to communicate his needs more directly. Finding a good social niche for Michael can aid him to cope effectively. In most cases, large, unstructured peer group settings present complex circumstances for majority of children who possess peer difficulties (Hoglund & Bonnie, 2004). Children such as Michael need a structured, small peer interaction setting in which support is accessible to direct positive peer relations.
Developing communication skills
Majority of educators dealing with children who manifest hearing loss agree that early diagnosis, amplification, and intervention are critical for their children. There are several approaches to communication employed with children with hearing loss. One of approaches encompasses auditory-oral detailing programs that teach children to make maximum use of their residual hearing via amplification (Hoglund & Bonnie, 2004). Auditory-verbal approach ties with auditory/oral approach, except that it fails to encourage speech reading. Other approaches include manually coded English (MCE) embodying visual representations of English. Cued speech/Rochester method represents a visual communication that combines cues that represent diverse sounds of speech. These cues are employed simultaneously with speaking to facilitate lip reading. Additional approaches include dual-language approach that supports development of American Sign Language (ASL) and total communication.
Suggestions on how to Evaluate Monthly Social Progress
There are a several aspects that can possess a positive influence on evaluating whether Michael makes real, measurable progress (Gregory, Bishop & Sheldon, 1995). A comprehensive evaluation should incorporate assessments tailored to the problems for which Michael was referred for evaluation. The social progress evaluation will integrate the identification and documentation of the results, actions, and markers to be evaluated. The actions incorporate the interventions that will avail the intended outcomes (Musselman, Mootilal & MacKay, 1996). The significance and efficacy of the monthly evaluation of social progress hinges on the institution of a set of appraisal questions that mirror the perspectives, experiences, and insights for action.
The best results to aiding Michael to attain social competence can only occur when early is combined with early and consistent family involvement. In trying to equip Michael with social skills, the subject can benefit from improved peer relationships and finding meaningful roles in his life. This necessitates involvement of cooperative efforts with others such as audiologists, psychologists, special education teachers, and guidance counselors. Family involvement, in this case, is critical, especially family's commitment to teaching Michael to talk is critical when undertaking an oral program.
First, there is a need to establish an extensive behavior support system that entails positive management of behavior. The elements of the system include teaching of social skills, positive reinforcement of behavior. Second, there is a need to assist Michael in the development of resiliency skills that aids him to overcome the negative influences or risk factors that curtail his social development. This may include developing supportive relationships with the subject, sustaining positive and high expectations for the subject, and availing growth opportunities that facilitate social participation and contribution.