The Child Who Is Deaf and Hearing Parents

By King, J. Freeman | The Exceptional Parent, May 2010 | Go to article overview

The Child Who Is Deaf and Hearing Parents

King, J. Freeman, The Exceptional Parent

A majority of parents who have a child who is deaf are hearing and usually have had no experience with deafness. The impact on the parents can unequivocally alter their lives. Often, the diagnosis of deafness is delivered as though it was exclusively medical, and does not encompass the linguistic, educational, and social aspects of the total child. The professional advice given to the parent regarding their child is often accepted as irrefutable fact, and can lead to the emotional, social, linguistic, and educational success or failure of the child.

The parents initially are not aware that their child is deaf because the baby displays comparable sensorimotor development, babbling, and gestural behavior as a hearing baby in the first few months of life. After repeated cycles of suspicion that a problem exists, when the child is about a year old, he/she undergoes extensive audiologic testing and the parents are informed that their child has a hearing loss. It is at this point that the parents often experience a range of emotions that send them on an emotional roller coaster ride. The emotions experienced often include denial, guilt, and blame.

It is easy for the parents to fall into the trap of seeking numerous opinions and "cures." Certainly, it is appropriate to obtain more than one diagnosis from qualified specialists; however, consultations with an endless series of clinics, professionals, and proffered cures over an extended period of years is a frantic effort to deny the reality of the child being deaf.

Hearing parents, not familiar with deafness, often view their child with terrible uncertainty. They are uncertain as to what to expect in terms of goals and expectations for their child's future, and are uncertain about their roles and how to be effective parents in this new situation. At the core of the uncertainty is the issue of communication: Should American Sign Language be used? Where does speech fit into the picture? Should a manually coded English system be the means of communication? Cued speech? Should a cochlear implant be considered? Even though research findings indicate benefits for families choosing sign as a means of communication, the issue remains complex and is often never satisfactorily resolved by the hearing parents.

Decisions regarding communication methods and educational placement options

Communication methods include the oral/aural approach, manually coded English systems, the bilingual-bicultural approach, cued speech, and total communication. Educational placement options include mainstreaming, residential programs, and day class programs. Parents are often swamped with so much information regarding communication and educational methods, as well as educational placement options, that they have no idea what to believe. One can only imagine the confusion that parents feel as a result of the ideological propaganda bombardment often presented by those in the medical and educational professions.

The need for early and consistent communication

Communication involves shared meanings. Without deep and meaningful communication with parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and other significant people in the child's life, there are no shared meanings, no shared experiences, no development of identity, and inadequate transmission of world knowledge. Deep and meaningful communication is a precursor to language development, whether it is a visual or an auditory language. Parents naturally raise the question as to what kind of language will be most accessible for their child who is deaf: a visual language or an auditory language?

Because of the various options available to parents, one can easily understand the consternation that the parents encounter. Perhaps the most important question that can assist parents as they ferret through the biases of professionals regarding methods and placement options is whether or not the deaf child is primarily a visual or an auditory learner : Once this question is answered, the parents can investigate the various methods and educational placement options, and choose the method and placement option that best addresses the child's strength, not his/her weakness--the option that plays to the child's ability, not his/her perceived disability.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

The Child Who Is Deaf and Hearing Parents


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.