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How To Integrate Deaf Culture In Your Family | What You Must Do.

 

INITIATE ACTION.

Teach-babies-sign-languge

Hearing parents of non-hearing children and non-hearing adults in the deaf community attending special outdoor events, often do not have opportunities to become acquainted with each other. Hearing parents with deaf children, usually remain unaware of this society and community events, and hearing impaired adults do not have a pressing need to include hearing parents in non-hearing community activities.

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Deaf daughter with hearing parent

An unfortunate result of such a division is that both hearing parents and non-hearing adults do not understand or learn from one another and the hearing impaired child must navigate between them.

Your entire family can become comfortable with the idea of a hearing impaired community and can benefit from attending special events. When you meet welcoming non-hearing adults, make sure to maintain contact with them.

Ask them to let you know about special events regarding hearing loss. Work at building friendships with adults dealing with hearing loss, and subsequently invite them into your home.

When a child suffering from hearing loss has hearing parents begins to assimilate more cultural values. He or she may find conflicts between non-hearing and hearing ways. This is not a bad thing! Your child has to begin somewhere in working out how he will handle his bicultural existence.

If the deaf child becomes familiar with the values and behaviors of both cultures, he or she will gradually learn to make adaptations when moving back and forth between the two.

BOND & COMMUNICATE

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Communication, along with sincere family bonding, is so important among the hearing and non-hearing. At some point in your child’s development, especially in pre-adolescence and adolescence, he or she may become a militant supporter of the society’s values.

If he or she has not already done so, he may at this time realize that many of his frustrations arise not because there is something wrong with them, but as a result of hearing people not communicating well and understanding his or her needs.

Always listen to your child’s point of view and let him or her teach you what he or she is learning about themselves. This is so important within the deaf culture. So be up on culture changes, and prepare yourself to ask some questions.

Hearing parents often fear, through lack of communication and sign language, they will lose their hearing impaired child to this society. This is an understandable feeling since since hearing and non-hearing societies are distinctly separate.

However, you will never stop being your child’s parents. The more you learn and stay interest inside a non-hearing culture, the more you can participate in all aspects of your child’s life.

SUPPORT & GUIDANCE

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Many states have parenting organizations that serve parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. In addition to giving support and guidance, these groups can introduce this society to your family. (See How Families Unite.)

I suggest that you contact one of these parenting organizations. You may decide to join one of them and if so you could establish a “subcommittee” that focuses on integrating this society into hearing families with a non-hearing family member. Call it the ‘Culture Club’ if you like.

Your ‘Culture Club’ could organize monthly activities at which non-hearing adults tell stories to the children, talk about this culture to them, and encourage children to feel pride.

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Celebrate together notable days in non-hearing history, such as Laurent Clerc’s birthday, or King Jordan’s selection as Gallaudet University’s first president having hearing loss.

Organize special trips together to visit colleges which cater to the hearing impaired, special clubs in your area, and special events in the non-hearing communities.

Consider holding a fundraiser to make money for this special club or other special organizations of  and for the hearing impaired.

Make the fundraiser an event related to individuals suffering from hearing loss. Have events which feature games, sell t-shirts with sign language insignia and teach about deaf history.

The show might include only hearing impaired students or both non-hearing children and their hearing siblings. Your entire family can participate in ‘Culture Club’ events.

ACTIVITIES

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Activity #1: Write a Hero. Materials: paper, pen/Age: 5 -12/Vocabulary-concepts: hero, letter, send, Look-Up-To

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The whole family can participate in this activity. Research current events and select a ‘hearing impaired’ hero to whom you’d like to write. You might choose a sports star, such as Kenny Walker; an actress, like Marlee Matlin or Linda Bove (fro ‘Sesame Street); or a non-hearing adult in your community who has done something to spark your child’s interest.

Write to several people if you like and be sure to encourage your child to note his pride in the next hero’s achievements as a deaf person.

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Activity #2: The “Big D.” Materials: colorful posted paper or old, light-colored cotton sheet or material/Age: 6 – 12/Vocabulary-concepts: big D, positive pride, Increase Self -Esteem

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 In this culture, it is common to capitalize the ‘D’ in Deaf when writing the word. This means that you are referring in all of the positive cultural aspects of being hearing impaired. Explain this to your child and inspire him or her to take pride in their situation by making a big ‘D’ wall hanging.

Cut a large (perhaps two feet by three feet) ‘D’ out of light-colored material. Have your child write all the special things he can do on the ‘D’.

Refer to his being deaf as a special difference and encourage him or her to write out his special differences on his ‘D’. Hang his big ‘D’ on the wall of his or her room.

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Activity #2: The Deaf Introduction. Age: 4 – 12, Vocabulary/concepts: introduction, first and last name, city, state, school, Mother-Father-Deaf

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When hearing people introduce themselves, they tend to shake hands and tell their name. Non-hearing individuals usually give more information to help “strangers” note vital information about the people and places they may have to common.

This maintains ties and preserves the community. People with hearing loss usually tell their first  and last names, their name sign, and where they currently work or to school. Then they will mention the city and state in which they were born, and the schools they have attended.

Practice this with your deaf child and teach each family member this special introduction.

Contact: Deaf Artist Of America, 87 N. Clinton Ave, Suite 408, Rochester NY, 14604; telephone (voice and TDD): 716-325-2400

 

(See Raising a Hearing Impaired Child)
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When you buy something from this website, I may receive an affiliate commission.
These are my opinions and are not representative of the companies that create these products.
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It is my intention to explain products so you can make an informed decisions on which ones suit your needs best.

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I consider myself one of the most hardest working, helpful guy in regards to online marketing. Earned my Associate Degree in 2000. majoring in mortuary science and hearing loss in children and adults.

2 comments on “How To Integrate Deaf Culture In Your Family | What You Must Do.”

  • Thanks Ronald, for a lovely article.
    This is a really good background in how to expand the horizons of hearing and Deaf in a family or community.
    My mother became Deaf in her latter years and the flashing doorbell was one of the most useful pieces of technology we could find.
    Here in the UK, the British Deaf Association and the RAD (Royal Association for the Deaf) are 2 organisations I can recommend.
    Thanks again for a sensitive helpful article.

    • Hi HappyB, Glad you found some value in my post. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had in our possession, some type of device that would let us know in advance, who’d get affected by this disease; then we’d be able to do something in advance?  

      Hearing loss is more common than most people realize. And it can affect anyone at any time in their life (as you stated about your mom). I’m also glad to hear that the ‘flashing doorbell’ worked out for you. I promote that product on my site as well. If you think you or a loved one may have hearing loss, or if you’ve recently been diagnosed, you likely have questions. (As a concerned family member, you want to know all you can).

      Through the years, technology has advanced in regards to offering better products and information to the public. I understand that the UK,uses a slightly different form of sign but still accomplishes the same goals. Thanks for providing your recommendations. 

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