ASDC's most frequently asked questions
My deaf child is the first deaf person I have ever met in my life. Will my child have a normal life?
Yes! Your child can have a good relationship with you and other family members, obtain a good education and later a good job, and lead a rich, fulfilling, contributing life. People who are deaf are found in a wide array of professions, such as law, medicine, drama, research, education, computer programming, accounting, and entrepreneurial enterprises. People who are deaf are found in all sorts of interesting activities, including travel, writing, sports, religious activities, social clubs and more. But your child’s success won’t happen without your involvement and support.
Some things you should do are:
- Learn to communicate with your child as well as you can.
- Support literacy through reading to your child and nurturing your child’s writing when the time is appropriate.
- Participate in organizations that provide support and information to parents.
- Obtain information about child development, language learning, and children with hearing loss.
- Get to know other parents of deaf and hard of hearing children and deaf and hard of hearing adults in your community.
I am considering using sign language with my child, but I have been told that if I do, it will interfere with his speech development. Is this true?
There is no evidence to indicate that using sign language interferes with speech development. In fact, research shows that a higher degree of language, including sign language, is correlated with better speech production. Research also shows that hearing children benefit from learning sign language as well, and that their spoken language develops appropriately.
How well will my child be able to speak?
The degree to which a deaf child is able to speak depends on a variety of factors including age identification and intervention and degree of hearing loss.
Hearing aids and other forms of assistive technology can provide a high degree of access to speech sounds. Combined with speech therapy, technology can help many children who are deaf develop some level of speech, with some becoming fluent speakers. However, the ability to hear sounds, discriminate among them, and then articulate them is quite complex, and not every deaf child will master these skills. The degree to which an individual child will learn how to speak and understand other speakers may be difficult to predict.
Why does ASDC capitalize the word “Deaf” in its literature?
In order to celebrate the positive self identity of all deaf and hard of hearing children and instill in them a sense of pride, ASDC in its literature uses the word “Deaf” with the understanding that it is inclusive of hard of hearing. ASDC believes that Deaf children should not be divided into the various shades of hearing levels. Only when a hearing level is being specifically discussed will terms such as “hard of hearing” be used independently.
For more details on the rationale, please see DEAF: In Our Eyes—ASDC’s Usage of the Word – Deaf [PDF]