Deaf and Hard of Hearing Parenting

January 11, 2011 at 12:00 am 3 comments

Doreen's son CoreyDeaf and hard of hearing adults can be a wonderful source of information and education, as well as provide support to hearing parents of deaf and/or hard of hearing children. Most are willing to share their knowledge and personal experiences raising deaf and/or hard of hearing children. Those willing to share, almost always welcome questions from parents who are striving to make the best decisions possible for their deaf and hard of hearing children.

Let me share with you one of my many personal experiences with one hearing frustrated mother below.

During my early parents-deaf babies’ intervention program, there was a hearing mother with a young beautiful strawberry-blond girl who could not sign. The mother was very frustrated and struggling with the idea that her only child was deaf.

The mother kept watching how I communicated with my son and realized that my son was well-adjusted and happy. She finally decided to invite me over to her home one afternoon for lunch with my son.

While both kids were playing together, the mother admitted that she was planning to give her child up for adoption. I was surprised and did not understand; finally I found the courage to ask her why she would want to do this. She explained that she did not know how to use sign language and her daughter would be better off living with deaf parents.

I looked up at her and encouraged her to give herself some time to think about it. I explained that only 10% of deaf children have deaf parents. I encouraged her to sign up for an ASL class and see how that goes before making a decision to give up her child.

She took my advice and signed up a class. Meanwhile, I continued visiting her with my son. She eventually became more confident and comfortable with herself signing to us all. I often gave her my praise for trying hard learning how to communicate with her child.

As time went on, she approached to me and said that I was her role model. I was puzzled, but she explained that she was very close to giving up her child. She thanked me again over and over.

It made my day knowing that I made a big difference even in only one person’s life.

Now, the daughter is independent and successful. Both her parents and sister sign to her all the time. It is very important that hearing/deaf families be able to communicate with each other, especially with children.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf & HoH Peer Mentor

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Priscila Branch  |  January 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    What a very thoughtful article. I had no idea that only 10% of deaf children have deaf parents. I know of hearing parents who sign to their hearing children simply because it’s an easier way to communicate!

    Reply
  • 2. jjleepainter  |  June 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Thanks for this site! As a parent of a newly identified hard of hearing child, I’ve had a crazy year of audiologists, ENTs, auditory verbal therapy, special schools, FM systems, etc. And now, we are going to start sign language classes! But my daughter’s hearing aids have made an incredible transformation in her communication skills, and it’s so great to get to know her!

    Reply
    • 3. ecnvecnv  |  June 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      jjleepainter,

      I am happy to see that I am able to help parents of deaf/hard of hearing children.

      I shed few tears because you are able to recognize who your daughter is and her personality develops since she is able to communicate with her hearing family. We need more hearing parents like you!!!

      Thank you again and you and your family will do just fine!

      Doreen

      Reply

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