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Momography: Parenting a Deaf Child

Updated on June 18, 2015

The Simple Truth...

Being a parent to your child is hard; being a parent to your child with special needs is H-A-R-D.


I am not an expert by any means, nor am I the perfect parent. Considering my most frequently uttered phrase is, "Well, there goes my Mother of the Year Award" (huffed out on a heavy sigh at least once a month over silly things like expecting my teenager to actually DO her homework assignment or her chores and what was I thinking, right??) Probably just as well I'm not after perfection, because I just don't see it happening....ever :o)


Raising a deaf child is definitely not without its own unique set of challenges, and I strongly encourage any parent to follow their OWN instincts in deciding what is best. No professional out there, no matter how dedicated, is going to love your child like you do. Am I suggesting you ignore all advice? Of course not! What I do suggest is that you make it your mission to learn everything you can so that YOU will be able to make informed decisions - after weighing all of the information you have - decisions that will be in the best interest of your child. Just because it's offered by an expert is no reason to blindly follow advice without question. There is no one size fits all cut and dried approach to something as special as your child (instead question away and check into everything to find what fits you best).


NOTE TO SELF

No professional out there, no matter how dedicated, is going to love my child like I do.

"Your daughter has a mild to moderate bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss."

HUH?

This might sound a little strange but after I got over the initial shock, I could admit to being oddly relieved by her diagnosis. Why? Because our daughter wasn't diagnosed until age 4, and I had begun to question whether or not she might be autistic. Her speech had developed to a point, but her learning abilities were bizarrely inconsistent. Following some advice, I took her to an Audiologist and had her hearing tested: it revealed a 50db loss in both ears.

Now in case you're thinking I'm an idiot (and if I were you, I probably would be) our daughter's hearing loss was a progressive one; she was born hearing. Added to that was the fact that she had managed to develop elaborate coping skills to compensate for her slowly deteriorating hearing (who knew a 4 year old could teach herself to lip read?). Additionally, she always covered her ears at loud noises and cried during the fireworks (normal toddler behavior, right?) Of course the doctor we saw following her first test helped immeasurably by pooh-poohing the results and stating with absolute conviction that it would be impossible for her to function as well as she did with that level of hearing loss (sure made me feel A LOT better :o)

I asked the doctor about sign language, just trying to get a perspective. His response was immediate and on the verge of being explosive, "Absolutely not! Sign language is ridiculous, NO ONE needs to use it; especially not a child with a moderate hearing loss. She'll wear hearing aids and be fine, she will NEVER need sign language". He seemed to be so completely annoyed with me for simply having posed the question, I dropped the topic altogether. I was given a couple of places to contact for information, got a list of appointments for additional testing, and left feeling slightly dazed and very confused.

NOTE TO SELF

Our insurance company does not pay for hearing aids or ear molds.

A blank audiogram - For you to save or print

Information Overload

Ready or not...here I come!

We'll skim through an incredibly stressful time of struggling with the new learning curve in my life (or what I referred to as "My quest for information overload"). I left the doctor's office feeling troubled by his disparaging remarks about sign language and the word "never"; I tend to have a problem with blanket statements and absolutes (it's the never say never thing, I suppose :o) This was well before most people had internet access at home, so I began going to work an hour early every day to scour the internet for any and all information I could find on hearing loss and children.

I called the first number I had been given for a parental support group (I was fairly sure I was in dire need of some support, particularly since my husband was working out of town). I got an answering machine and left a message, thinking "One down, one to go" and dialed the second number to a local center serving the deaf and the blind. This time someone answered, and I was immediately transferred to the director. I told him our story and he suggested I might like to make an appointment to tour the school (there's a school?) He explained that there was indeed a school that my daughter could go to right away; it was about a 4-1/2 hour drive and she could come home on the bus periodically to visit (and of course for the summers). Blindsided by this unexpected proposal I thought, "She's only FOUR YEARS OLD". When I spoke the thought aloud, however, his response was the sooner the better; she definitely needed to be sent. I thanked him politely and hung up feeling dazed yet again. Surely that wasn't my only option...

I never did hear back from the parent support group, despite having left several rather desperate messages. We managed to get her hearing aids fitted, but had to change doctor's offices to do it. After riding the medical merry go round for three weeks straight and getting nowhere fast (they were unable to get accurate enough test results to fit her with hearing aids) I had had enough. At wits end, we finally found a wonderful new doctor an hour away and they not only managed to quickly (and accurately) test her hearing, she was fitted for her hearing aids and had ear molds poured in less than 3 hours (and after waiting 3 weeks that was pretty darn quick :o)

NOTE TO SELF

I didn't bring my daughter into this world for someone else to raise.

Early learning can be fun - Songs in sign

Buck the system

(and stick to your guns)

After careful consideration (and researching until my eyes crossed), we decided to mainstream our daughter in public school. She was enrolled in early intervention and began receiving speech therapy during the week at her daycare. The overall consensus on learning sign language remained the same: definitely not recommended at this time as it would ruin her speech among other things. Should she reach a point in her life that sign language became necessary, THEN the school system would teach it to her. While I understood their position (sort of), it seemed to me that a much better plan would be to go ahead and teach her to sign while she was still very young. That way should the need for signs ever arise, (in the vague and distant future) they would already be in place. Trying to teach a child an entire language in the event of an emergency just didn't fly for me: so against ALL professional advice, I decided to do it myself.

At the time I was working in an administrative office at a financial institution, and was introduced by a friend to a very brave customer who was deaf and had offered to teach me to sign. Armed with some very rusty knowledge of the A-B-C's, I began going to lunch 2-3 times per week with my new tutor. Looking back, I probably should have at least offered the poor woman some Tylenol for making it through what had to have been some seriously tedious lunches :o)

My sign language teacher rapidly became a wonderful friend and introduced me to the deaf community. Initially, I was absolutely terrified, but in spite of all the awful stories I had heard about the deaf community, (you know, like they chewed up hearing people and spit them out just for fun) they turned out to be one of the most welcoming groups of people I had ever met.

Some time after my daughter received her brand spanking new aids, her teacher spotted her throwing them across the playground at day care. When asked why she threw her hearing aids away, my daughter stated angrily that they were broken. After checking the batteries and testing the aids at home only to find nothing, a trip to the audiologist revealed that she had lost additional hearing (this would be the first of many times).

By the time she started first grade, our daughter had lost enough hearing to necessitate an interpreter (and golly, wasn't it a good thing we didn't wait to learn to sign?). Her speech was coming along beautifully, in spite of the hundreds of dire warnings I was given about teaching her to sign (as in: she would completely stop speaking, she would longer want to speak, it would ruin her existing speech, etc.) I've declared many times since, that this has been the Lord's little joke on me...most parents are begging their deaf child to speak and I'm forever telling mine to "HUSH" :o)

TOO FUNNY: My daughter loved her auditory trainer (shown in the picture) which sent her teacher's voice (via mic) straight into her ear from almost anywhere in the building. She was dawdling in the bathroom one morning - actually she was busy singing because the acoustics in there were just way too good to pass up - when her teacher told her to hurry and come back to class. When she still didn't return, her teacher walked across the hall to the restroom and found my daughter squatting down to peer under each of the lavatory doors saying, "Mrs. Forrester, are you in there??", looking for her teacher :o)

NOTE TO SELF

Every single professional thinks you are doing a terrible disservice to your child by teaching her to sign.

Help the teachers work with your child - Be an informative parent

KNOW ENOUGH TO HELP THEM HELP YOU

Nearly all of the teachers I've encountered are willing to go the extra mile to help a child, but most of them had never had a Hearing Impaired child in their classroom before mine. It is imperative that you help your child's teachers understand how this loss affects your child in everyday life and offer them some suggestions to ensure a successful year for everyone. Make sure you are realistic with your requests; bear in mind that teachers are terribly overburdened these days and most are doing the very best they can (I can say that honestly as I work in a school system :o)

KEEPING IT SIMPLE WORKS BEST

I always gave copies of the audiograms [shown above] to the school and the teachers with my daughter's aided and unaided results. To help further understanding, I also typed out the following page from "Little Bear" and suggested the teacher share it with the class (it really helps the other children to "see" the effect a hearing loss has):

WHAT YOU HEAR: "Father Bear Comes Home"

"Hello, Hen."

"Hello, Little Bear."

"Guess What!" said Little Bear

"What?"

"Father Bear is coming home today."

"Is he?" said Hen.

WHAT A HEARING IMPAIRED CHILD HEARS: "----er B--r --m-- --m-"

"--llo, --n."

"--llo, L-ttl- B--r."

"-ue-- --at-" --id -L-ttl- B--r.

"--at-"

"----er B--r -- --ming -om- -od--"

"I- -e-" --id --n.

It is also very important to make sure everyone clearly understands that hearing aids do NOT fix hearing the way that eyeglasses fix vision (a common misconception).

A small notebook sent back and forth to school helps you to keep up with the day to day happenings. Be realistic and don't expect your child's teacher to be able to chronicle their entire day, a short sentence or two from the teacher is plenty. Don't forget to return the favor if something upsetting has happened on the home front; too often a teachers only clue is behavioral.

Superduper Study Buddies

Hypersign 4.0 Dictionary of American Sign Language
Hypersign 4.0 Dictionary of American Sign Language

This program makes studying for spelling tests fun for deaf or hearing children. Create a custom word list using your child's spelling words and take the misery out of studying - my daughter loved using this program :o)

 
Spell It Deluxe
Spell It Deluxe

Make up your own wild and wacky sentences using your child's reading vocabulary list and help them to easily learn the definitions. Hint: Use the names of your child's friends and remember that the sillier the sentence, the more excited your child will be to see what you came up with next!

 
Addition Pocket Flash Card Game
Addition Pocket Flash Card Game

Take turns with your child and let them test your math skills. Hint: Get one wrong periodically and let them correct you (kids just love being able to tell an adult they got it wrong :o)

 

Help your child work with their teachers - Be an informed parent

DO WHATEVER IT TAKES

I printed out and sent this homemade behavior chart with stickers to my daughter's first school every single week. Did I have to? No, but I was doing everything I could to help everyone have a successful year. I selected two areas where I knew she would struggle, and two areas where I was pretty sure she would succeed.

A huge plastic jar on top of our refrigerator held a plethora of prizes. Every Friday, as long as she had at least 18 stickers (we got two "freebies", as anyone can have a difficult day) the chart was posted on the fridge and she was allowed to select a reward from the jar. Any and all visitors were encouraged to comment on her chart; she loved explaining to anyone and everyone how it worked.

BEWARE OF CROSSING THE LINE BETWEEN ACCOMMODATIONS and EXCUSES

The kindest thing you can do for your child is to expect them to follow the rules just like everybody else; this includes disciplining as warranted. There is a critical difference between making accommodations and making excuses (and once you start making excuses, the road will only get rougher). For example: Going through my daughter's signed papers one Friday afternoon, I noted with some surprise that she had failed her spelling test. Considering how hard we studied (she had gotten 100 on the mock test I gave her the day before) I could not believe she had done so poorly on it. I called her teacher to see what had happened, and found that she had asked the interpreter to go make some copies (without thinking) and then decided to go ahead and give the spelling test to the class. She was most apologetic and re-administered the test with the interpreter (who would be considered an accommodation) present. It was perfectly reasonable for her to retest with her interpreter, as it allowed her (as a hearing impaired student) to have equal access just like the rest of the students.

If, however, my daughter had failed the test because she did not study (for which she would be in big trouble at home :o) then allowing her to retest would be teaching her to use her hearing impairment as an excuse. This is a terrible lesson to teach a child and is not only counterproductive when trying to teach responsibility, it will cause untold difficulties socially by fostering resentment among their peers.

NOTE TO SELF

I DO believe in providing necessary accommodations for my child; I do NOT believe in making excuses.

Some Great Kid Motivators on Amazon - All kids love this stuff :o)

Meeting Heather Whitestone (the first deaf Miss America in 1995)

Meeting Heather Whitestone (the first deaf Miss America in 1995)
Meeting Heather Whitestone (the first deaf Miss America in 1995)

Mainstreaming may not be as easy as A-B-C...

...but it can be easy as Pie (Cherry, to be exact :o)

I wasn't long after my daughter started first grade (for the second time) that I knew we were going to have to do something different. I had learned - belatedly - that the school system had opted to split the Interpreter between my daughter and a student in another grade (a bubble-headed bureaucratic decision that originated in their central office). I had to find a way to help her more, but great job or not working 8 to 5 plus the commute, which made it 7 to 6, was definitely causing a major time problem. The question was, what could I do?? Private schools did not offer interpreters, and I certainly could not afford to stop working and home school.

After many prayers and much debate, we refinanced our home and restructured our finances. This enabled me to accept a much lower paying position as an Interpreter in an area school system. Not only did it add the much needed time together every day, we now had breaks and summers to utilize. Her grades improved and working in the school system helped immeasurably with our homework sessions (because now I had a clue).

One of the best teaching games [for a mainstreamed deaf student] I came across was in the third grade classroom where I began interpreting. It was a spelling game called "Cherry Pie". The students in the classroom all knew their manual alphabet and had been taught the signs for each spelling word. Standing in a large circle, the teacher would sign the word and going around the circle to the right each student would sign a letter to spell the word. After spelling the word, the next student had to sign the word and then sign "Cherry Pie". If they misspelled and signed the wrong letter, they were out and had to sit down. My student absolutely LOVED this game, as she could do it "by herself". I would sit nearby doing "important" things, like creating a giant ice cream sundae out of poster board to put on the classroom bulletin board. The other children loved it just as much as my student and I got a huge kick out of watching them fingerspelling the words around the circle. I passed this game on to my daughter's teachers and numerous others over the years with much success.

NOTE TO SELF

Sitting on the floor creating a giant ice cream sundae on colored posterboard has to be the coolest "job" in the world (Boo-Yeah :o)

The American Sign Language Alphabet

Live Dangerously...

Be a parent to your child

When my daughter was in kindergarten, I remember telling a counselor at school (during a meeting) that her Hearing Impairment was not a handicap. No, her handicap as it were, was much bigger than that: It was C-U-T-E. Now cute can cause you all manner of grief as a parent, but a cute kid with visible hearing aids can spoil a child faster than you can say, "Time out!"

It is very hard to keep a child on an even keel, when everyone around you seems determined to indulge their every whim. Complete strangers have walked up and handed my child money because she was wearing hearing aids and they felt sorry for her. For those that were offended by my polite refusal, a visit to the Salvation Army bell ringer outside the store solved the problem (and if that was out of season, it went straight into the church offering plate :o) I had to tell the dentist and everywhere else we went to please allow my child the standard ONE prize (they wanted to give her two every time, just because she was so darn "cute").

We continued to socialize with the deaf, and it was easy to see how much that socialization meant to my daughter. Hearing parents that sign (a rarity) are held in very high regard by the deaf community for the simple fact that they love their child enough to learn to sign. My introductions to new people were always prefaced by a glowing dissertation and issued with pride, (it was a little embarrassing sometimes). The stories I heard about family life from some of the deaf adults broke my heart and helped me understand why they were so happy to have me around.

How would it feel to use the system described in the next paragraph to communicate with your family at home?

Lee (not his real name) was an adult in his 30s and had attended a regional school for the deaf (remember where I was supposed to send my daughter?) His family lived out in the country; his parents did not have a lot of money and were not very well educated. When Lee would come home to visit, he would have to write notes back and forth with his mother to communicate as neither of his parents could sign. If he wanted to talk to his stepfather, who could not read, he would have to write a note to his mother who would then read it to his stepfather. His stepfather would tell his mother whatever his answer was and then his mother would have to write it all down and hand it to Lee.

Can you imagine???

NOTE TO SELF

This one hurts my feelings...

90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.

27% of parents with deaf children learn to use sign language

...But...

only 10% of that 27% are fluent.

The Great Debate....

To implant or not to implant

When our daughter was 8 or 9, my husband and I traveled to Children's Hospital in Birmingham to learn about a newer technology called a Cochlear Implant. Having done a bit of research on the subject of implants prior to making the trip, I faxed 3 pages of questions to the contact person at the hospital. I'm sure they've compiled additional data by now, but back then an awfully large portion of the answers to my questions were "not enough data available". We spent the morning watching the presentations and listening to the spiel. We watched two videos that supposedly represented both sides of the debate, but came across more biased toward implants than anything. My biggest concern had nothing to do with any of the content on the videos. It was performing major surgery on my child that was geared to "fix" something that was not life threatening. There was also no way to predict whether or not the implant would even help until several weeks post surgery. That made it a mighty big crapshoot.

When all was said and done, the implant didn't seem like the best idea at the time and we decided we would wait until our daughter was older and could share in the decision making process. The technology could only improve in the meantime, right?

Of the two people I met that had gotten an implant; neither of them were successful. One was a young man in his twenties, and the other was a girl that lived fairly close by who was only a few years older than our daughter. She grew up using cued speech and was not allowed to sign. It was easy to see how excited she was when she came to visit and told me about her upcoming surgery. I could feel myself getting excited for her the more she talked about it; right up until her parting sentence, "Finally, I'll be hearing just like everybody else!" With that comment, I had a terrible sinking sensation that her long-awaited procedure was doomed to disappoint (and I'm sorry to say it did). I remember thinking sadly that it was a shame she had not learned to accept herself as she was, and instead pinned all her hopes on a single surgical procedure to solve all her troubles. I still see her from time to time; she wears her implant even though it provides little benefit, and is still desperately unhappy.

The most important thing you can do for your child is love them unconditionally. My daughter has been raised to accept the fact that she is deaf, and she does not waste time wishing she were hearing (what would be the point?). Even if she does one day decide to get the implant, she will still be deaf...and that's okay with us (we love her just the way she is :o)

NOTE: For a great flip side, check out Kevin's wonderful success story (it's on my lensroll) ~ he has an implant and loves it :o)

NOTE TO SELF

Even if she does get the implant she will still be deaf,

and that's okay...(we love her just the way she is :o)

Based on true stories

PLEASE NOTE: "Children of a Lessor God" is NOT recommended for anyone under 18. It illustrates with painful clarity the low self esteem felt by so many in the deaf community and the sad circumstances that arise because of it.

Well, that was then...

Epilogue (Take One)

It has been a long journey and it is far from over; our daughter's hearing has slowly deteriorated over the years (marked by 12 - count 'em 12) pairs of hearing aids and countless ear molds. They are, in case you are wondering, STILL not covered by our insurance. She is down to 1 now; the right ear having kicked the auditory bucket (er, so to speak) back in the third grade.

We've learned a lot about life and loving yourself the way God made you (and discussed the happy fact that there are neither hearing aids nor glasses in heaven). We are careful to focus on the positive and still talk about whether or not she wants the cochlear implant surgery someday (she does, but not right now Mom, okay?)

Our daughter is in high school now and getting ready to attend her first prom. Contrary to popular belief teaching her to sign did not ruin her ability to speak at all, she still talks incessantly (but now it's in TWO languages, sign AND speech :o)

And this is now...

Epilogue (Take Two)

It's so hard to believe our little girl is a senior! *Sniffle* The past 12 months have been amazing; she has blossomed into a lovely young woman (especially on the inside where it matters most!). And a "chance" meeting at a Baptist convention for the deaf at the end of her Junior year brought a wonderful young man into her life.

They've been dating for the past year (prom picture below this module) and although the "M" word has been mentioned, we agree that we should probably wait a while longer for that. Promise rings have been exchanged for now, and in the fall she'll be off to college in pursuit of the "other" love of her life: Woodworking (second photo below).

As a parent I know how blessed I am to have such a terrific teen on the verge of adulthood; but I sure am going to miss those precious little pigtails :o)

Want to see what she made me for Christmas the following year? - Amazing what a little college can do for your talent - Woot!

This is the world's most fantabulous scrapbooking cabinet (and yes I cried :o) Isn't it amazing?

HI Performers ~ this is so cool!

Thank you SO very much...

In the Potter's Hands

In the Potter's Hands
In the Potter's Hands

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

© 2009 EpicFarms

...for Visiting this Lens! - I hope you enjoyed reading it (I'm proud you made it this far, anyway :o)

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    • profile image

      Karen 2 years ago

      You know who this is! Stumbled across your site as I was searching for information for my class. So proud of you and the young woman I taught sooooooooo many years ago!

    • EmmaGraceEllis LM profile image

      EmmaGraceEllis LM 3 years ago

      I have read a few of your lenses now, I am in awe of all you've done and accomplished

      This story made me cry so much (happy tears and a few sad ones), i am so touched by your dedication to your daughter.

      I previously worked for a national hearing provider here in Australia, we are joint with NAL- National Accoustics Laboritory (world famous apparently- along with the Head honcho Dr Harvey Dillon)

      Seeing first hand many firsts- not only in technological advances in hearing devices - waterproof aids took my breathe away when a little girl was fitted with them for the 1st time and told she could ACTUALLY swim wth her sister and HEAR the splashing!!

      You NEED to pat yourself on the back- seriously- a job, so amazingly done!

      Thank you for sharing.

      PS- anyone with a hearing impaired/ deaf child- heed the advice and wisdom of WYSIWIGS!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      very good information, i am glad she is doing well

    • mamabrat lm profile image

      mamabrat lm 4 years ago

      My daughter, who is 11 is mild to moderate in one ear and Moderate to severe in the other. She taught herself to aid her hearing by lip reading to some degree by the age of four. Amazingly she has no speech problems, though three out of four of her older sisters do. Hers is not nerve, but a rare osteo problem in her inner ear. The doctor says it may be correctable by surgery but they won't know until the do exploritory surgery. Abby doesn't know if she wants that since, with hearing aids, she has been able to adapt. I've had to explain that most insurances won't cover hearing aids. You story gives me hope. Congrats on a job well done.

    • profile image

      ayla5253 4 years ago

      @randomramblings1: Be aware that cochlear implants are not well-accepted in this country by Deaf Adults. I raised a deaf child when implants were very new. My dtr got a cochlear implant at age 6. We did intensive therapy with her, we demanded auditory training be put in her IEPs besides just taking care of the equipment, and she learned to speak intelligibly and read well. She was the 35th child done at U of M. However....at 14, she refused to continue using the implant. None of her deaf friends could hear her anyhow, she said. She prefers to live in the deaf community. I was satisfied as long as she could function in a hearing work world and earn a good living.

      I will say this. Even in the days that she used the implant, she was deaf when she took it off at bedtime, she was deaf in the shower, and she was deaf when swimming (can't take it in the water). All considerations .

      If you are going to do the implant, research it and do it EARLY. Age 2-6 is the critical period for learning language (not talking about just speech here but Language). At 6, we were fortunate that she did as well as she did. The deaf that we met in our area were certain we would stop signing but we never did. We continued to use total communication , and still do, so that my dtr could bridge the hearing And the deaf worlds.

      Another twist: These days, my 27 yr old dtr, who is an advocate for All deaf, not just those who can speak, does not speak to the hearing. She will write, if in public, or use an interpreter. Why, even though she speaks very nicely? Because she believes that hearing should make the effort to sign, and that hearing should be educated that not all deaf can speak well , without a hearing aide/implant or With one, and should not Expect all deaf to be able to speak. I support her decision. I believe that mental health, including that of the deaf, comes First.

    • balancebydesign4u profile image

      Carol 4 years ago from Arkansas

      Excellent lens! Good thing you followed your mommy instincts and helped your daughter learn sign language and learned it yourself! Very helpful and inspiring lens. God bless you.

    • profile image

      Vensa1990 4 years ago

      I am Ms.Vensa from China,we are specializing in child wear manufacture and wholesale.I am an outgoing girls,born in 1990,I like make friends who are like sports,listen music...haha,it's our great honor make friends with you!

    • profile image

      Vensa1990 4 years ago

      @KandH: I am Ms.Vensa from China,we are specializing in child wear manufacture and wholesale.I am an outgoing girls,born in 1990,I like make friends who are like sports,listen music...haha,it's our great honor make friends with you!

    • randomramblings1 profile image

      randomramblings1 4 years ago

      While the medical profession seems to be the best direction to head concerning deafness, I recommend looking into Deaf Culture. Sweden has an incredible program that I feel needs to be started here in America. The second a deaf baby is born, a cochlear implant specialist and two Deaf parents are assigned to the family so that the new baby's parents can make a well-informed decision.

      Look into Deaf Culture books and other articles on deafness to get a full perspective if you are the parent of a Deaf child. As a member of the Deaf community I firmly believe that 1) Deaf are not disabled, just communicate differently and 2) natural visual communication is the key to a full childhood for your Deaf child. Please make an informed decision!

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 4 years ago

      I'm appalled that so many "professionals" were so rude to you in the beginning. To tell you no, that she should never learn sign, to give you such an absolute for *your* child, the audacity! I'm glad you used your best judgment and taught her sign anyway. I also found it heartbreaking that so many hearing parents of deaf children don't bother to learn sign. Kudos to you. I'm glad the story is turning out good. (I would say that it has a happy ending, but it's far from over!)

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 4 years ago

      You are a wonderful mom!

    • KandH profile image

      KandH 4 years ago

      Your story is inspiring - your daughter is blessed to have a mom like you and I am glad to see how talented she obviously is and how proud she has made you - thanks for sharing this story so beautifully :)

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      beautiful story thank you for sharing. It really took me back to my childhood I have a younger brother that is deaf. I remember many of his struggles growing up.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 4 years ago

      Thanks for doing this lens. It will surely help others.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      It is my joy to walk through here again and to bring a little angel dust, this is love!

    • profile image

      smsr0100451 5 years ago

      Love this lens. I don't know much more about this language. Now I want to learn this language.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Thank you so very much for sharing this lens with us here on Squidoo - blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      I absolutely love your lens! Very touching story. I also learned ASL in college and have taught my son several signs. He's pretty good at it :)

      I have included you in my list of favorite featured lenses on parenting a child with special needs. My own son has epilepsy and I have a lens about him as well. The lens that I added to you was creating in hopes of making a virtual support circle for other parents out there of parents with special needs. Thank you so much for sharing. The link to my lens is: http://www.squidoo.com/my-circle-of-amazing-moms-b... You are such an amazing mom!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I am so touched by your lens. Good for you for sticking with what you believed to be the right things to do. You have a beautiful daughter with a wonderful success story.

    • EpicFarms profile image
      Author

      EpicFarms 5 years ago

      @CatJGB: Most people have no idea the major impact a unilateral hearing loss can have on one's ability to hear things. There's been great debate over whether or not sign language is a "real" language. The sticking point is that it has no written format; it is the third most used language in the U.S. One thing that always seems to fascinate the kids at school is that each country has their own sign language in addition to their own native tongue (for some reason they always expect signs to be universal ;o)

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      I have a unilateral loss, 90db loss on one side. I had coping mechanisms as a kid and still do, only people who know someone else with a hearing loss are able to pick up on my I-have-no-idea-what-you-just-said nod and smile. :)I am also an Auslan interpreter, Australia Sign Language. Many people have no idea that sign is a language in it's own right, with grammar and structure, and sometimes the teachers at school will teach the kids a few signs, but they are always makaton, which is a simplistic series of signs with no grammar etc. A bugbear of mine :)

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      amkatee 5 years ago

      I can relate to your early years because we had tubes fall out and now know my daughter is deaf in both ears (mild to moderate). We plan on doing this with as much excitement as possible. And thank you for the insight on cuteness!! Ha. She gets that enough already. Now I know what to look out for!

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      EpicFarms 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You are welcome Cookie. I hope it will help them to understand! :o)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      a true insperation what wonderful idea's about the school i am defo taking that into mine to get them understand as no matter how many times i say to one of his teachers he can't hear your oice from ovr their they just don't listen thank you :)

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      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      You have done a wonderful job with your beautiful daughter. Very informative about hearing loss. Love the Notes to Self.

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      GetSillyProduct 6 years ago

      looks like you're doing a great job :) Great resource lens and good tips for parents with deaf kids

    • profile image

      monkeyDluffy24 6 years ago

      I've never seen that illustration before. My left ear audiogram is a no-brainer with x's straight across the bottom of the chart, vertically & horizontally...yikes. I need to look at my most recent (September) audiogram and compare it to that neat little illustration. Maybe then I can explain to my husband how I hear, ha.

      best hearing aid Merrimac Ma

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      Heidi Reina 6 years ago from USA

      What an amazing journey your family has taken to support your daughter. It's an inspiration for all of us. Blessed by a Squid Angel ~

    • EpicFarms profile image
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      EpicFarms 6 years ago

      @VSP: I've taught sign language classes before and I was always impressed by the number of New Year's resolution students I would have. You know those that said, "I always wanted to learn how to sign..." Kudos to you for taking the time to learn :o)

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      EpicFarms 6 years ago

      @RebeccaE: Thank you Rebecca; I figured even if it only helped one other parent out there it was worth the writing :o)

    • profile image

      RebeccaE 6 years ago

      this is a beautiful story thanks so much for sharing yoru challenegs and joys, they mean a lot.

    • VSP profile image

      VSP 6 years ago

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I especially liked your "notes to self." I too have a special needs child. I took a semester of sign language years ago from a hearing lady who had been in the deaf community via a boyfriend for many years. I late taught a group of girls some sign language too. It's pretty rusty now, but I could still probably assist a deaf person in needed quicker than a hearing person.

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      EpicFarms 6 years ago

      @Wednesday-Elf: It is very common for the children of deaf adults to interpret for their parents growing up; these kids usually learn to sign before they learn to speak. Many of the interpreters I meet are CODAs (children of deaf adults). In 12 years of interpreting I have only met two other interpreters that were hearing parents of deaf children; one here in Alabama and one in Florida. Thank you so very much for your kind words, and the Squid Angel blessing!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I think it's marvelous that you listened to your "Mommy Instincts" early on to know what was the best direction for you to take with your daughter's deafness. As you said, "no one is going to love your child like you do.

      When I was in 8th grade, my school was K-8. I had a daily free afternoon period and spent it volunteering in the afternoon kindergarten class. One day one of the students needed someone to see her home. Since she lived in the same apartment complex my family did, the teacher asked me to walk her home. I saw her to her door, and was invited in by her parents. This little, very articulate and talkative 5-year-old, translated in sign everything I said to her TWO deaf parents, and then gave their answers back to me (in words). I remember, at age 13, being so impressed, not only that a 5-year-old 'hearing' child could use sign language, but that her parents had the presence of mind to teach it to her as a second language from very early on so that no one in the family would ever have a communication problem! It's a shame some 'hearing' parents of deaf children resist learning sign and limiting the wonderful communications they could be having with their child!

      You've told your family's story of dealing with your daughter's deafness with such compassion and understanding and humor it's no wonder your daughter turned out so positive about life -- in addition to being so lovely. Thank you for sharing with us this story that is very deserving of a ~SquidAngel Blessing~~

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      happynutritionist 7 years ago

      I'm glad you got the Sunshine Award on your other lens, because it would have taken me longer to find this one by you...at least I think it's my first visit...I am sister to a deaf brother...he is also quite disabled. Did a couple lenses related, but the more challenging one about his life is still a work in progress. Your daughter looks and sounds delightful. Lensrolling this into anything I do that's in any way related:-) ~claudia

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      What a great story and beautiful daughter. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on charity-lenses-for-summer-sunshine-giveaway

    • profile image

      Ladyclodine 7 years ago

      You have really done an amazing job of raising your beautiful daughter and your love for her shines through in each and every word you have written here. I especially love and am moved by your notes to yourself. A disposable hearing aids is not that bad after all.

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

      An educational, well-presented, dedicated lens. You've just been blessed by a Squid Angel.

      Feel free to visit https://hubpages.com/community/angel-blessings

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 7 years ago

      Love your lens, and love your spunk. Because my youngest son insisted on breast feeding all during his brother's daily nap he learned to sign because a signing show was the coolest thing on TV at the time. He learned to sign before he spoke. I'll never forget when I signed "banana" as I gave it to him and he suddenly put his little chin on his hand and stared HARD and the lights went on: Mommie's hands meant something! I called it my own personal "Miracle Worker" moment.

      Sign language is fun, very beautiful and very useful. For sure more of us should learn it.

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      Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

      Wow, you have really done an amazing job of raising your beautiful daughter and your love for her shines through in each and every word you have written here. I especially love and am moved by your notes to yourself. This lens is a wellspring of information for anyone who will ever need guidance in raising a hearing-impaired child. *blessed by an angel*

    • Violin-Student profile image

      Violin-Student 7 years ago

      Good lens. Good information. My wife is involved in Special Ed, and it's amazing how different it is with hearing impaired kids, and exciting how much progress they can make!

    • EpicFarms profile image
      Author

      EpicFarms 7 years ago

      @rubyandmahoney: We did look into it several years ago, but the waiting list was very long and they were skeptical about allowing children to have dogs (adults had first dibs). I have a feeling she'll end up with one when she finished college as her boyfriend (they are very serious) has one :o)

      Thank you so much!

    • rubyandmahoney profile image

      rubyandmahoney 7 years ago

      You have written a wonderful account of parenting a deaf child. I am hearing impaired myself and plan on writing about it soon (there is a lot of history to put together) so I really enjoyed reading your story. Knowing some of what my mother went through to obtain services for me, I know how important and difficult it is to be an advocate for your child when they are disabled. She is lovely and has such a radiant smile! One question, have you considered a hearing dog for her? I have one and it has made *such* a difference in my life. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Nice page thanks great information i learned a few things 5 stars!

      tummy tuck before and after

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      The Childrens and Parenting Group that this lens belonged to has survived all the recent changes on Squidoo and is now a Lensography. This lens is now featured at Children and Parenting HQ.

      And of course this visit gives me the chance to Bless this excellent lens.

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      Carol Fisher 7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      How hard you've worked with your daughter, I'm not surprised she has grown up so well, accepting her condition but not using it as an excuse. I'm also shocked that so few parents of deaf children learn to sign. I would have expected they would want to do that so they could communicate easily and naturally with their children. Great lens, blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      cool site and great advice

    • EpicFarms profile image
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      EpicFarms 7 years ago

      [in reply to Spook] Actually, she is [seriously] dating a young man who has a chochlear implant and she has asked him about a million questions :o) Now that they have improved the surgery to a far less invasive procedure, she is contemplating one after her graduation this year (and before college). Thanks for the blessing!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 7 years ago

      I came back to re-iterate that everybody has their own way of thinking. Thank you for the lensroll and you and your daughter are always in my thoughts. Blessed by an Angel.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 7 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your story it brings awareness.. keep up the great work

      in dealing with it what a cute girl ! ..I watched a movie called ' What The Bleep Do We know'!?! with an actress named Marlee Matlin who is deaf and I love her ! So I made a lens on her because being deaf she inspires many.. I'll lens roll you .. if you get a chance check out these two lens tell me what you think .. thank you

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      You've been blessed by a Squid Angel, and this lens was included in Another Day of One Hundred Squid Angel Blessings.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent lens and very well crafted and beautiful prictures...5*s!

    • profile image

      Medicinemanwriting1 8 years ago

      Thank you and I really know what you are talking about. Check out my lens and see. Her baby sister is a big help to her, now that she is starting speech therapy. Best to you and yours.

    • EpicFarms profile image
      Author

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      [in reply to KaraLynnRussell] Thank you Kara; funnily enough sign language is a tremendous help to deaf and hard of hearing children also, but the "professionals" don't see it as such :o)

    • EpicFarms profile image
      Author

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      [in reply to luvmyludwig] My daughter cheated on one of her hearing tests too (we had to outsmart her there :o) Thanks so much for the warm welcome to the team and I look forward to seeing you there!

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 8 years ago

      This is a beautiful job on this lens. The writing is wonderful, you explained your experience very well. My son has an 85% hearing loss in both ears, but we are lucky that it has been stable for 3 years and the outlook is that it will continue to do so. We didn't get a diagnosis until age 6 because he'd learned to cope so well with lip reading, and was either the luckiest or unluckiest kid in the world because he passed all his hearing tests due to raising his hand when he wanted to. It is so good to have you on the WiWon team and in luvmyludwig's squidlets. I look forward to getting to know you better through our group on ning. Please visit our goup at http://wiwonteam.ning.com/group/luvmyludwigssquidl... and check out our forum there. We will be working closely with one another throughout the challenge.I have lensrolled this lens to the lens about the day my son got his hearing aids. "hearing aids at age 6" and plan on featuring it with spooks lenses that are already there :)

    • profile image

      KaraLynnRussell 8 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading about your experiences. I'm really surprised to hear how negative professionals were to teaching sign language. My daughter has Down syndrome and her birth to three speech therapist started teaching her sign language when was about a year old. She said it would help my daughter's language development.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your life with others.

      It opens up our eyes.

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image

      Davidfstillwagon 8 years ago

      Congratulations on winning the Sharing Hearts lens award! this was a wonderful lens. 5 and I favored it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I sure enjoyed this lens. Thanks for sharing your experiences here. This would be a great help to new parents in this situation. I wish you all the best!

    • Terry Boroff profile image

      Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 8 years ago from FL

      What a wonderful inspiring story! You and your daughter both are amazing. I enjoyed the way you broke it with the notes to self.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. Your daughter is beautiful.

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Excellent lens!!! I do some signing with my younger brother - he has a disability that limits his ability to speak properly. Thanks for the great info :-)

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 8 years ago from USA

      Jen- Your attitude and daughter are both beautiful and so is this page. 5 stars, lensrolled, favorited, and a teeny donation (it would be more if we had more). Very, very good and I love the NOTES TO SELF. Brilliant.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Welcome to the Children and Parenting Group

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing your story! I hope you'll write more about your Interpreter job, I've considered that training in the past but haven't pursued it.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 8 years ago

      As someone who's worked in the Deaf community, you did the absolute best thing for your daughter when you followed your instinct and allowed her to learn to sign. Well done mama! Your daughter is doing very well. All hearing parents of deaf kids would do well to ready your lens.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      Angel Blessings to you for a wonderful personal lens.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      wow. She's lucky to have such devoted parents. Only the smartest kids can handle learning two languages like this - but since her hearing was already deteriorating at 4, I would probably have made the same choice.

      Blessed :)

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      What a beautiful child! Excellent lens!!

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 8 years ago from Corona, CA

      Great lens! Terrific job, good info, fantastic reading. A lens anyone should read.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      This is fantastic lens! I enjoyed reading every word! Thanks for making it! Blessed by an Angel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What an incredible and heart touching story. You are very inspirational. I have a lens on Sign Language that I would absolutely love your opinion on. I have been doing sign language with hearing children for communication purposes. God bless you! 5 stars on your lens!

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      annetteghallowe1 8 years ago

      What a wonderful, heart warming lens. And my opinion is, you do deserve the Mother of the Year. For loving your daughter and teaching us about the world of a hearing family with a deaf child. 5* and thank you!

    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 8 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      Fantastic lens!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      Welcome to the Sharing Hearts Group :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Sounds to me like you are very much up at the plate for any

      challenge that you may find in your life. Your love comes

      shining through here on this lens. - This is well done! :)

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 8 years ago

      Wow -- what an inspirational lens and chock full of interesting information. Thanks for putting this together! I'm glad you enjoyed my Printable Reward Charts lens as well! I've given you 5 stars!

    • profile image

      tdove 8 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Deafness and hearing problems run in my family.

      Thanks for the lens.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 8 years ago from Guatemala

      What an excellent lens! When I taught English at a local school here in Guatemala, I had two students who were hearing impaired. One had a hearing aid that only worked occasionally and the other was 100% deaf. I had no idea about the hearing charts and what a hearing impaired child can hear or not. We mostly communicated through sign language (both thought my American Sign Language was hilarious since some of the signs mean very rude things in Spanish signs!) and writing.

      Thanks for sharing your journey!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      A beautiful child and a beautiful lens. I know a bit about this but my views are slightly different. As you say who is anyone to tell you how to love your child. Wish we could meet somewhere and talk about this. Wishing you all the best and giving you all the works, fived, faved and lensrolled.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Your journey with your daughter has been beautifully told on this page. I am sure there is a lot here to help others find their own way. Blessed by an Angel.

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens on an important subject! I had excellent hearing as a child and young man, but lost most of my hearing as I grew older. Most of us take our senses for granted until we begin to lose them... in ourselves... and in others!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Beautifully written, informative and extremely interesting. Your daughter is beautiful and I love your "notes to self". Very well done. Thank you for sharing.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      great momography. thanks for sharing.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 8 years ago

      Oh..this is an outstanding, wonderful lens! My husband was born deaf and also had a hard time in school for a while. Favorited and 5*s!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

      Awesome, awesome lens. I wish I were a Squid Angel so I could bless it! I *LOVE* your "notes to self* throughout. You are an exemplary mother! The statistic about hearing parents with deaf children made me sad too - how can they not care enough to learn to communicate properly with their children?

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Absolutely awesome lens. Wonderful combo of warm personal detail, practical tools and resources, and life lessons that can benefit all parents of kids w/special needs. In fact, make that simply "all parents." 5***** and should be 5,000 :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Magnificent!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      nice job!

    • EpicFarms profile image
      Author

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      [in reply to aj2008] Well phooey, I can't join a group or lensroll you until this lens gets into the "green" *sigh*....I'll be there soon!

    • EpicFarms profile image
      Author

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      [in reply to aj2008] Thank you so much! I am going to lensroll your APD lens to this one. I am pretty sure APD was an [undiagnosed] issue for my daughter while she still had some hearing but it's pretty much moot now :o)

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 8 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens indeed, you did an amazing job! Beautiful daughter and an amazing mom you are! God is Good!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This is an amazing and inspirational lens. I have a child with a "listening" disorder (APD and I made a lens) and although her hearing is not affected I know what it is like to have to deal with "disbelieving" so-called experts and professionals.

      I would be delighted if you would submit this lens to the Children and Parenting Group as I have a feeling it will be accepted!

      Angel blessings to you and your beautiful girl.

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 8 years ago from London, UK

      Very inspiring.

      And a rmeinder of one thing that we consistently told my eldest son who has ADD and dyslexia, and continue now to tell me younger sons who have Asperger's Syndrome -- These are reasons for why you do things the way you do, they are never excuses.

    • EpicFarms profile image
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      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      [in reply to Heather426] Thank you Heather! I must confess, however, to spending considerable time explaining in great detail to the Lord why it was exactly that I was definitely not able to handle His request of me at this time....It didn't work though :o)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Oh my goodness, I cried that so many parents of deaf children don't learn to sign for their kids...that is so sad. I also learned in brownies, but I will definitely brush up on it again :)

      Your information is well laid-out, with plenty of info, without beating anyone over the head with too much to learn.

      I am so happy to be your friend, you are so intelligent and a really great mom for raising your daughter the way you have.

      Too cool you!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      I agree, beautiful lens, beautiful child, beautiful mom. 5* to you! I like that saying about God must have thought a lot of you, to give you a child with special needs. It kept me going when I wanted to give up on my son who was ADHD.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Beautiful child, beautiful lens, beautiful Mom! 5* and a blessing