Sensitivity in the Family-Professional Relationship: Parental Experiences in Families With Young Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
Donna M. Mertens Marilyn Sass-Lehrer Kim Scott-Olson Gallaudet University
Families with deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) children face many challenges that often begin before the confirmation of a hearing loss. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the experiences of families during the D/HH child's early years of life, that is, before the age of 7. Specifically, data are reported concerning the parents' experiences around the time of suspicion and diagnosis of hearing loss, the concerns parents had during those early years, and the implications for the professionals who provide medical, audiological, social, and educational services for these families.
Parents frequently experience a lag of approximately 6 months or more from the time they suspect a hearing loss to when the hearing loss is con-