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Working with Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients Related to Deaf Parents

June 16th, 2011 by | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Deaf parent of a child with bilateral cochlear implants writes an informative post for those who work with children who are deaf/hh related to Deaf parents who chose spoken language and CIs for their children:

I thought y’all may be interested in the information related to children with CIs, with the focus mainly on those of Deaf parents.  Those Deaf parents are a part of a very small group (often overlooked by others) who chose CIs and spoken English/ASL for their children.  There are few more Deaf parents who may be interested in CIs and spoken English but they are terrified as I once was due to past experience with negative attitudes toward ASL, Deaf culture, and may view CI and AV clinics as a scary place (UNC-CH was the only place in NC deaf parents reported as being comfortable with. Also former director/founder Carolyn Brown has a granddaughter who is bilingual in spoken English –from CASTLE/grandparents and ASL –from her Deaf mother).  From my experience to help those parents to feel comfortable, suggestions are:

  1. Early Intervention programs may want to make sure that ASL is included as one of the optional communication modes package and staff is aware of this group of parents and its unique needs.
  2. More CI and AV clinics need to be open and accepting of Deaf parents who are considering CIs and spoken English and ASL as two separate languages. I also learned that John Tracy clinic gets sign language interpreters for Deaf parents who attend its meetings/conferences or camps.
  3. Hearing parents need to be aware of the Deaf parents since the Deaf parents would like to have variety of playmates for the children so their children will see other children with CIs and use spoken English. Deaf parents sometimes are nervous due to communication issues between the hearing and deaf signing parents as well as the situation where some hearing parents prefer their children not to be around deaf people.
  4. Have a list of CI/AV clinics and audiologists who have experience and are comfortable with deaf parents so the parents will have one less thing to research for best places to take their children to for appointments.
  5. AG Bell organization is changing since it is working with this group and does get interpreters for conferences. Several children members of hearing and deaf parents are bilingual in spoken English and ASL. Many are not aware of this situation so some misconceptions remain.

Informative blog for Deaf parents: Click Here (CI & ASL Community)

A support group for Deaf parents (both signers and oral) with CI children: Click here

1 Comment

June 16, 2011 at 11:45 pm

I was thinking about writing a blog post about this very subject yesterday!

I think that Deaf parents who choose spoken language for their children are amazing, strong, wonderful parents. It has got to be a tough decision, one that faces almost certain struggles and judgement. But, they are doing what they believe is best for their child.