You may have a million and one questions, thoughts and worries swirling around in your head… Perhaps your child is the first person with deafness in the family? Maybe the only deaf person you know?
Firstly, don’t panic!
Take a deep breath. This blog will hopefully answer some of those questions to put your mind at rest… and if it’s not mentioned here, there are other resources and organisations who can provide support and guidance to help you and your child.
Secondly, you are not alone.
You may feel isolated in this hearing world with a deaf child, but you both aren’t alone! There are 11 million people with different levels of hearing loss in the U.K. and of that, many family members who know a deaf person. As a parent of a Deaf child, there are many others who have been through what you are going through now.
The first thing that comes to mind is ‘how can I communicate with my Deaf child?’
There are so many communication methods, from speech (using speech therapy), lip-reading to sign language, cued speech and so on. It’s important to consider or try all options to find out what’s best for your Deaf child.
It may be worth enquiring for a Teacher of the Deaf to come and visit. They have all the knowledge and resources to best advice and prepare you.
Generally it’s best to take each day as it comes, but your child’s future and education may be at the back of your mind. To ease this, I like to share my motto…
‘Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support.’
When the time comes, you’ll know by then how your child’s communication is progressing and whether or not they will benefit from attending a mainstream school or a Deaf school/school with a Deaf unit.
At either school, it’s important to ask for the support that your child needs to help them with their education, whether 1-1 support, note taker, sign language interpreter etc. Support is vital for success! Don’t let the school tell you what’s best for the child, as you and the Teacher of the Deaf will have better understanding of what will help them achieve.
Can my child go to University?
Can my child get a job?
Can my child start a family?
Can my child live independently?
The answer to them all… is YES!
Don’t let your child’s deafness stand in the way of achieving their dreams. There may be barriers that you come across but there’s always a way around that.
There are so many inspiring Deaf individuals to look up to, from actors to musicians, medical professionals to lawyers, from bloggers to vloggers and so on. Each of them who has been through the system, and have experienced life with deafness and have proved that Deaf people can do anything.
Professionals and Organisations
There are many fantastic organisations that provide support for different areas relating to deafness and hearing loss. They may also have contacts with various professionals who can provide advice, like health visitors, GPs, Audiologists, ENT Consultants, Speech Therapists and so forth. Maybe have a browse online to see what you feel might be best for you and your child.
There are many valuable resources available online, from articles to blogs, videos to Facebook groups for deafness. There is also #HearingLossHour on Twitter, on the first Wednesday every month from 1-2pm (GMT) to talk about different topics relating to hearing loss.
There are many technologies out there. Fantastic hearing technologies like hearing aids or cochlear implants to help your deaf child hear. Also assistive technologies like Radio aids, wireless streamers which connect to hearing devices, vibrating alarm clocks and much more.
Don’t give up hope, keep strong for your child and you never know one day they might surprise you!
If you have any other tips, please comment below!