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