Today, millions of parents have deaf children. Every day, many hearing parents find that their child is deaf, but they do not know how to parent their Deaf child. They end up being scared of raising a Deaf child. Some hearing parents do not want to keep their Deaf child and they put their Deaf child in a foster children’s center because they feel ashamed of having a “disabled and deaf” child. Most hearing parents choose to take their Deaf child to a speech therapy and get a hearing aid. Some parents want to take their Deaf child to a cochlear implant surgery and they prefer not to use sign language. Although, many parents figure out how to find some parenting tips for raising Deaf child.
Great news, more hearing parents of a Deaf child want to learn sign language and communicate with their Deaf child, that’s so AWESOME! Unfortunately, parents do not know where to start raising a Deaf child. Certainly, Deaf children are similar to hearing children. There are no differences between parents and children. Yet, the cultures between hearing and deaf are different in order to learn about the different behavior, communication, and cultural habits between hearing and deaf. Moreover, your Deaf child has to learn how to identify her (or him) as a Deaf person. Take my advice: never label your Deaf child as “disabled” or “handicapped” child 🙂
As a Deaf mother, I have one of my sons, Jed, who is Deaf. While Jed was born with hearing abilities, he had some seizures, which caused his hearing loss. Similarly, I was born with hearing and ended up having seizures. I guess, Jed and I had some similar health issues. During Jed’s childhood years, I took him to a mainstream school where I used to attend elementary school in my hometown. But, it was not so good. My former husband encouraged me to take my son to the school for the deaf where I graduated from. I was not so happy with my former husband’s suggestion because I knew that the school for the deaf had serious poor social skills and excellent academic. I was afraid that Jed could have been miserable while growing up in a Deaf school.
Later, Jed had some troubles at school due to his peer pressures and his wrong choices. As the result of that, I had to take him out from school and put him in a private school for awhile. I was disappointed in myself and I felt that I was a failure because I made a bad decision to follow my former husband’s advice about putting Jed in the school for the Deaf. I did try what was the best for my Jed. As a mother, I wanted Jed to learn how to balance his social skills with hearing and deaf people so when he grew up as an adult, he could learn how to accept both hearing and deaf people in his social life equally.
Jed came back from his private school and attended a public high school where he graduated. He was an excellent student in leading Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Club and taught some hearing students to learn sign language. It was an amazing experience for him to be part of both hearing and deaf communities. I was so happy that Jed understood about balancing between hearing and deaf people in his social experience.
Now, my Deaf son, Jed is off to college. I am confident he will have a lot of hearing and deaf friends out there.
10 Parenting Tips for Raising Deaf Child
- Find the special education services in your local school district.
- Join a Sign Language class in community college, adult school, or private tutor (online or offline).
- Study a sign language class online in YouTube if you cannot afford to go to school.
- Communicate efficiently with your deaf child in signing.
- Read a book about Deaf culture and history.
- Discuss with your spouse about your deaf child’s future.
- Do research on the schools where your deaf child can attend.
- Ask a Deaf mentor to help you learning sign language and give you some support for your deaf child.
- Talk with your extended families about your deaf child.
- Teach your deaf child’s siblings sign language so they can communicate together.
Helpful Information for Raising Deaf Child:
- ASL University (American Sign Language University)
- Raising Deaf Kids
- American Society for Deaf Children
- Raising Deaf Child Books
- American Sign Language Books
- American Sign Language for Kids DVDs
I can’t even imagine how difficult this must be. Kudos to you. This takes a lot of strength!
This is very helpful to me as there is a deaf child in our church nursery. I struggle to communicate with him.
This is a brilliant post, full of so much wonderful advice. I can’t imagine what it must be like but these days, thankfully, help is around.
Although I don’t have a child who is deaf, I think this is some great information for parents of deaf or hard-of-hearing children. Thank you for putting together this resource!
Interacting with deaf people is always a little confusing but these tips sure could help anyone! Thanks for sharing them
This post is just wonderful. I have to share this info with my sister, her son is a little deaf and she was so sad. She would love it!
Michelle Gwynn Jones
I took sign (for no apparent reason) – there was a great program at the technical college by me. Having no one to sign with outside of class, my instructor introduced me to a club that met at a mall for lunch once a week. It was a great experience and a skill that has come in handy on more than one occasion.
I love that your son has done so well!! I can tell you are proud of his accomplishments it can be hard to tell what is the best choice for our kids as they grow up.
I don’t have any experience with this and I appreciate that you shared your story with us. I learned so much while reading this post of yours!
I never thought about sign language on YouTube. that’s a GREAT idea!
It’s a balance, and one you’ve mastered well. I admire those of you who have extra challenges in childhood. Momma’s instincts are the best! Thank you for all the links.
Omg I couldn’t imagine having to deal
With this. This is definitely a great resource for parents in this same situation.
Oh, this is really nice. I will share this with my friends, I think it is really hard to deal with a child with a special condition.
Such a helpful post. Could really help a lot of people too!
My daughter was born deaf. We don’t know what caused her hearing loss. She wears cochlear implants. She got her first one at age 4. I kept her in public school and for her senior year, she went to the school of the deaf. She is now on her way to Gualladet for college.
This past year she has questioned some of my decisions. I guess she felt that I didn’t make the best decision for her. When she got her implant at 4, the audiologist and dr recommended that we should drop sign language. I stood up and refused to give it up because without her implant on, she still needed a way to communicate. Plus, now she is bilingual and can help other deaf or hard of hearing students.
She was also upset that I didn’t learn sign language. I learned the basics when she was younger and can fingerspell. However, she could also hear and wanted her to use her speech to communicate. I didn’t have time to take formal sign language classes. I was a single mom when she was younger. I had to go to school in the evenings to try and further my education so as a single mom, I could try and increase my earning potential. I just hope she realizes that I did the best I could with the hand I was dealt.
Ana De- Jesus
I am sorry to hear about the trouble you had schooling but I hope that things turn out for the best and it sounds like that his club is helping him a lot!
I can only imagine how hard it is to raise a deaf child or any child with a disability. Great tips!
I’ve thought about taking a sign language class before. I know if I had a deaf child, I would make it a top priority.
This is a very useful post. I am sure it could help parents with a deaf kid
As a speech-language pathologist, I am familiar with all the different directions families can take when it comes to educating and communicating with a child who is deaf. Regardless of whether a family chooses to raise their deaf child within the Deaf community, I believe (like anything else regarding parenting decisions!!) that the most important aspect is to educate oneself about all the options and – whenever possible – understand the implications of the decisions we make!
Thanks for a great post, and for providing great resources 🙂
– Ayelet from Strength In Words