Grades 5 – 7

Developmental patterns for all children

As this stage, young adolescents are consolidating some aspects of their identity, beginning to seek independence from their parents, yet still maintaining attachment and interdependence. Their affiliation shifts to peers and they want to belong to a group and be like peers.

In middle school, there is a growing importance placed on social status, which leads to comparisons and worries about social acceptance. Grades 4-8 are the top years for incidences of bullying being reported.

These youngsters continue to develop skills to relate to a variety of people, including those of the opposite sex and are learning to manage a wide range of more intense emotions. They seek to show mastery and competence in school, and are learning to think analytically and abstractly. Additionally, they are refining social problem-solving skills, evaluating effectiveness of strategies, and enacting novel strategies to deal with social situations.

Possible effects of hearing loss on informal interactions

How parents and teachers can help

May reject outward signs that set them apart from their hearing peers and dislike wearing their technology and explaining their accommodations to others

  • Continue to reinforce the use of hearing technology/FM system and/or the educational interpreter



May experience difficulties with identity, self-concept and self-acceptance




  • Help develop the language needed to describe to others their communication needs and expectations of communication partners
  • Help them develop their role as the "Technologist Specialist" and be comfortable explaining and using their technology or “Signed Language Specialist”
  • Continue to develop age appropriate self-advocacy skills

May be finding it difficult to be the only child/student with a hearing loss

May feel that others just can’t understand what it’s like to have a hearing loss




  • Help the student feel a part of a group of “cool kids who wear hearing aids" or to know another language (signed language)
  • Connect student with others who have hearing loss so they can share their feelings about having a hearing loss and wearing hearing aids, using an interpreter, their successes and frustrations
  • Introduce students a few years older, who are comfortable with their hearing technology, or use of signed language to act as mentors to a younger child

May encounter challenges finding a social group, and may only be on the periphery of some friendships. They may often feel left out of conversations




  • Continue to develop problem solving strategies through role playing social situations
  • Include peers with typical hearing in group discussions about the challenges of having a hearing loss so that they can better understand how peers perceive them and their hearing needs
  • Help them see themselves as part of both the group of students who wear hearing technology and/or use signed language and those that do not have a hearing loss
  • Encourage enrolment in activities where children can excel despite their hearing loss (e.g..: hockey, swimming, etc.)

May encounter bullying incidents, which affect concentration, academic performance and social-emotional development

May be afraid to bring the incident to an adult because it may make the situation worse with their peers

May be embarrassed to indicate others don’t like them or ashamed that they can’t stand up for themselves

May also not want to worry parents

  • Help students to be aware of bullying situations and develop strategies to deal with them
  • Use a signal system when in need of peer or adult intervention
  • Set up no-questions-asked procedure for child to remove him or herself from a   situation where bullying behaviour occurs
  • In school – support zero tolerance for bullying incidences


May experience cyberbullying

  • Discuss the definition of cyberbullying: meaning text messages or emails, rumours sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
  • Explore safe ways to use technology
  • Encourage reporting of cyberbullying so it can be dealt with


1.    Jamieson, J. Hearing, Learning & Belonging: The Social Challenges – and Successes – of Hard of Hearing Students. Presentation at VOICE conference, Guelph, Canada 

2.    Sinclair C. Mental Health for All Children.

3.    Anderson, K. & Arnoldi, K. (2011) Building Skills for Success in the Fast-Paced Classroom. Butte Publications, USA


1.    Rule the School Self Advocacy Game.

This game helps students with hearing loss to develop the knowledge and ability to speak up for themselves and their needs in regular classrooms in order to have equal access to their educational environment. Students learn and review vocabulary such as middle ear, audiogram, etc. and problem-solve commonly occurring scenarios in a board game format.

2.    Social Inferences Fun Deck.

Social stories designed to help students develop inference-making skills (e.g. How does that person feel? How do you know?).

3.    Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss.

4.    Stop Bullying.

5.    Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids. Activities that address anxiety, fear, worry, and stress in teens. High School/Middle School Edition.

6.   Tool Kits for Kids.

The High School/Middle School Edition Tool Kits targets the emotional challenges often confronting children aged 11-18. The kits contain 20 effective strategies to meet these challenges. Kits are designed for children to use individually, or if preferred, with a parent or other help.

7.   What’s the Problem? A game to increase understanding of communication breakdowns.