Graduate project

Words from a deaf parent

Any number of authorities have in recent years recommended that parents of hearing handicapped children seek out the advice and assistance of deaf adults as they strive to meet the challenge of providing their child with the best possible upbringing. While the deaf community applauds this position, conscientious parents are undoubtedly feeling somewhat frustrated. How are they to find these deaf adults; and communicate with them while their child is young enough to enjoy whatever benefits may be forthcoming? And if the "voice of experience" happens not to be readily available, how can they discover just what such a source would suggest? Deaf adults are as individualistic as snowflakes, and it would be presumptuous for one to claim to be representative of all others. Nevertheless, a certain degree of concensus prevails, and there is wide agreement on points that are made when deaf people discuss among themselves such a topic as, "I wish my parents had known�" While the guidelines offered in this paper attempt to capture the spirit and intent of those wishes, they are not presented as authoritative or even typical, but as one (deaf) parent to another.