Use gentle touch strategically.

Your gentle touch can make a big impact.

Touch is a wonderful connective tool that should be used regularly–but wisely–with your young DHH child. Think of touch as an invitation to connect. Use it to create opportunities to provide necessary language and information.

A special note: Every child is unique in her touch preferences, because every child’s sensory system is like a fingerprint. Attune to your child’s responses to different types of touch. Pay attention to both obvious and subtle response patterns. Trust yourself to know your child best.

  • Touch me to get my attention.
    • A gentle tap on the shoulder or a light rubbing motion on my arm will do the trick! 
    • Wait for me to respond.
    • Couple this touch with my spoken name or name sign. This is how I will begin to connect your loving touch with looking and listening. Eventually, I will pair it with my very own name!
  • When I look at you, show me delight on your face and in your body. This makes looking at you worth my while!
    • Start a simple playful “game” with me to engage more deeply. Let’s do “serve and return” as much as possible.
    • Give me signs or spoken words for what I am hearing or seeing once you have my attention. 
  • Use gentle touch to maintain my attention.  If I look away before you are done engaging with me, a gentle tap can bring my attention back to you. 
  • A few considerations about the use of touch:
    • Please be careful not to force me to look at you.  I may have lost interest or feel tired. I can become agitated if you demand my attention. 
    • Forceful or unexpected touch of any kind can be distressing to me. Grabbing my face, turning my head toward you, or suddenly picking me up and moving me can trigger my brain to feel unsafe. No one can do any sort of healthy relating or learning once this happens!

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