Before our children were born, they had a special conversation with God. They asked Him to give them parents that would care for them, help them with their special needs and most of all love them more than anything else. With that we were chosen as parents to these beautiful children. And for that we are honored and forever grateful. 
Thank you Emma & Harrison for choosing us.

March 21, 2009

Advice to parents of deaf babies and children

So I decided to put my two cents in. I may get a lot of backlash because of what I'm about to say but oh well. Here goes nothing...!

Parents, FORGET THAT YOUR CHILD IS DEAF! Sounds crazy right? Well let's think about it. Put things into perspective. When it really comes down to it, it's not that big of a deal. When we found out that our daughter was deaf it was devastating. Why? Because it was completely foreign. That's pretty scary! Immediately I jumped ahead 18 years and wondered will she ever go to the prom, will she ever get married! And then I thought, "ok wait a minute, she can't hear; that's it". That's really no big deal. She has things on her ears, and yes they look different and she sometimes gets stares, but that's how she hears. If I didn't put those little circular discs in my eyes or that funny thing that wraps around my ears and sits on my nose, then I wouldn't be able to see! So after we went through the grieving period all parents go through, we did just what I said; we forgot she was deaf (in a sense). We still go to AVT sessions and work with her EVERY DAY on speech and language and comprehension; she had almost 3 years of catching up to do, but we didn't treat her any differently than we would if she were normal hearing. Believe me, she was disciplined the way we planned and talked to the way we would normally and not given any special provisions other than what was needed for her at the time regarding her hearing. 

I've read many blogs from parents who, for lack of a better term, "baby" their children because they assume too much. They assume that they must be afraid at night because it's dark and they can't hear so they let them in bed with them. What would they have done if their child could hear? They allow them to get away with things because they feel sorry for them. I sometimes still cry thinking about my childrens' lives and why them, but it doesn't mean I'm going to give them ice cream for breakfast or not make them take their vitamins!

In essence, what I'm saying is, be mindful of your actions with your child, know that what you do today will shape them into who they become. Realize that are perfect as they are. And have confidence that they will be ok. And when that is all said and done, maybe your child will surprise you like mine does when she is asked what those things are on her ears and says "they're my ears, it's how I hear, it's ok....do you want to play?".

That goes straight to the heart and helps me realize we're doing something right and she's as normal as they come!

4 comments:

  1. I do this all the time! :-) And, my 8 year old would probably say that he forgets that he's deaf, too. There are daily reminders, but mostly inconsequential-- putting CIs on, taking them off, and changing batteries. The rest of our days are full of the normal activities of a family!

    Yesterday at a forum, a deaf adult who was orally educated, wore hearing aids and then got a CI a year ago stated that the best thing we parents can do is allow the child to become as independent and typical as they can possibly be. He said that he appreciated when his parents didn't hover, allowed him to advocate for himself at school and fight his own battles. And he had more battles, because technology was not as developed! Normalizing life is very freeing for kids, and you are absolutely correct in this assessment!

    Amy
    cochlearimplant.net

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  2. Great blog! You know, sometimes I forget our son is deaf too - I can really almost forget though, because his left ear is perfectly normal, but his right is completely deaf. He wasn't diagnosed (we had no idea, really) until he was in Kindergarten (he is now 8). He hasn't had to be "normalized" all that much, fortunately, except for reminding his teachers every now and then that he IS HOH and needs a bit of help. He too had to have speech therapy, in fact, it was during speech testing in Kindergarten that we found out he was deaf. Our school has been awesome in supporting his needs and the Teacher for the Deaf in our school district is fabulous.

    We are currently trying out a BAHA to provide some hearing to the right side of his head, and he will be having a CT shortly to see why he is deaf.

    Now if only we could conquer his selective hearing!

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  3. I couldn't agree more. I treat my boys the same; I find myself doing the exact same things, the same activities, the same expectations, with my deaf son as I did my first born hearing son. Of course, there are differences, there is AVT and the mindfulness that he does not hear and comprehend at this age like his brother did - but there is no pampering because of it. And it's just as good for us - we can't walk on egg shells because of our children's deafness, we've got to enjoy our babies all the same!

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  4. I think your 2 cents are good advice. We are relocating from Arkansas to the Dallas area and I appreciate your site very much. I am looking for an AVT for my 2 and a 1/2 year old daughter. I am glad to hear your Emma is in mainstream Kindegarten, that is awesome. I expect we will be just as proud in a few years. I too, love the Welcometo Holland poem. Thanks for sharing your experience. Perhaps we will cross paths one day. I'd love to meet your family.

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