Kindergarten – Grade 2

Developmental patterns for all children

Children in this age range are expanding their friendships to include a group of friends, and often play group games with their peers. Social hierarchies begin to emerge and friendships can be unstable. Children enjoy being the winners and will typically change the rules of games being played in order to suit their own needs.

In terms of their self-identity, children at this age are becoming more aware of their personal characteristics - what they are good at, how they’re different than others, and what is challenging for them. They are beginning to express pride in their capabilities and at the same time, can be embarrassed and anxious in new situations.

Children continue to depend on adults to assist with conflict resolution and when navigating difficult social situations. They are beginning to interpret social cues and understand expected social behaviours and interactions appropriate in various situations.

Possible effects of hearing loss on informal interactions

How parents and teachers can help

May gravitate more towards adults than peers as adults understand and accommodate for hearing loss, language errors and delays

May withdraw socially because peers are not as accommodating as adults

  • Ensure student knows classroom routines and expected behaviour.
  • If needed, use a visual activity calendar
  • Encourage peer friendships through cooperative activities in the class
  • Facilitate situations where children can talk and interact with peers (e.g. outings, sports groups)
  • Plan playdates at home - teacher can make suggestions to parent of children who may be good playmates

May feel different or singled out by their peers because of having to wear hearing technology or using an interpreter

  • Provide an environment that fosters acceptance of differences (help all classmates to see them as just another student who happens to need hearing aids or that uses signed language to communicate)
  • Ensure that the child’s peer group understands hearing loss, e.g. how to communicate with the child, what the challenges are, and how technology helps them (Use picture books available through hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers).
  • Explain the role of the interpreter or educational assistant
  • Explain to children with hearing loss why they wear hearing aids/cochlear implants and how they help them to hear and/or how to use the interpreter
  • Teach the correct labels for hearing technology, how to put them on/when to take them off, and how to care for technology (e.g. change the battery, charge FM)
  • Discuss lag time for those who are using interpreters
  • Encourage children to be involved in choosing their hearing aid or mould colours and where best to position the interpreter if one is being used
  • Help children learn how to take care of their technology and to troubleshoot if the equipment doesn’t work (e.g. test battery, etc.)
  • Show and explain visual alerting devices to the student and their classmates

May experience social language delays, difficulty overhearing social cues and may intrude inappropriately

  • Teach social rules directly; greetings, attending to speaker; not interrupting; appropriate ways of getting attention
  • Provide situations for children to practice conversation through play and everyday activities (e.g. games, art and science projects)
  • Teach language structures required to start and end a conversation
  • Practice asking questions to identify and solve problems
  • Teach communication repair strategies (e.g. asking questions, requesting clarification when information is not understood)
  • Remind student of lag time when using an interpreter, ensuring time for the student to respond

May need help entering play situations, listening to others

  • Model strategies to participate in group play; model language and appropriate attention-getting behaviours needed to enter, maintain, and end play
  • Play turn-taking games and games that require listening or attending to others (e.g. Go Fish matching game; Guess Who; Guess Where).
  • Create a cooperative art project - one big project that all create together (Limit art supplies so the children have to ask each other for supplies)
  • Have a share day
  • Make experience books of shared experiences

May be delayed in developing complex language to describe emotions

  • Teach language to describe emotions and feelings beyond ‘happy, sad, mad’ such as frustrated, bored, angry, kind, nervous, mean, scared
  • Teach acceptable ways to deal with frustration, anger or hurt
  • Model behaviour and language to deal with conflict resolution, disagreeing with others; language to apologize or how to explain their behaviour; ways of complimenting others

May feel self-conscious and withdraw socially because they see themselves as different/less attractive, wearing hearing technology

  • Connect students with other students who are Deaf/deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Support families in joining a support organization so they may meet other families who have children with hearing loss


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

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

3.    John Tracy Clinic - Ways to Facilitate Social Skills. California, USA

4.    Anderson, K. Social Needs and I hate my hearing.


1.    Hearing Aid Tic-tac-toe Bingo. (game and app)

A fun way to increase students' knowledge of hearing aid parts and teach the language needed to report problems with their hearing aids such as "My ear mould is broken", "My tubing has water in it" or "You have to push the program button."

2.    I'm the Boss of My Hearing Loss.

Using positive language and humorous pictures, a boy shows how he demonstrates responsibility for his hearing aids as well as educating the reader about hearing loss.

3.    Sophie's Tales: Learning to Listen. by Melanie Paticoff The story of a Sophie, a little dog who discovers she has a hearing loss and her journey to receiving a cochlear implant. Sophie understands that she is different from other dogs because she needs help to hear, her confidence and fun personality never waiver.

4.    Book Boosters!

Companion to “Sophie’s Tales” and ‘I’m the Boss of my Hearing Loss." Twenty-five activities that build self-advocacy, language and literacy skills.

5.    Helping Hands.

A fun activity focused on teaching students with hearing loss about their accommodations (sitting away from noisy areas, close to the teacher).

6.    Early Social Scenes for School.

Pragmatics and social skills lessons containing a stimulus picture of everyday situations students encounter at school, follow-up questions for discussion and extension activities. Encourages increase in expressive language and problem solving skills through discussion on how to respond to each situation.

7.    Communicate Junior - The Social Skills Party Game!

Game which provides practice recognizing facial expressions, conversation strategies, eye contact, listening, ignoring, sharing , taking turns, interpreting body language and voice, intonation and pitch, following rules and manners

8.    Sort and Say Feelings.

Students talk about their emotions while matching a feeling tile to a feeling scene.

9.    Fold and Say Social Skills Activity Booklets.

Create more than 200 little books each describing a social situation at school, home or community and follow up question and answers.

10.  Practicing Pragmatics Fun Deck.

11.  Tool Kits for Kids.

Elementary School Edition, teach skills to address the everyday emotional concerns faced by children, ages 5-11. Kits include 20 thinking and behaviour tools and parent child activities.

12.  Come Sign with Us: Sign Language activities for Children. Fun activities manual. Twenty lively lessons introducing 10 target vocabulary words

13.  Handy Stories to Read and Sign. Parent/Teacher book and DVD set