Now What?

A guide for families with children newly identified as deaf

Blonde boy signing with wide open mouth face expression holding a ball on a green field.

If you are looking for information about how to raise a deaf or hard of hearing child, there is good news and bad news. The good news is there is a lot of information available. The bad news is – well – there is a lot of information available! How does one sort through the information provided in books, articles, websites, from professionals, family, friends and from other sources to arrive at decisions that are right for your child and family? Here are some tips that may help.

There is no “one and only way”

Every child and family is different. Values, experiences, opinions, and resources vary from family to family. What works in one situation may not work in another. There are a number of ways to be successful raising a deaf or hard of hearing child. No one plan or formula will work for everyone. You must do what you believe is right for your child and family.

Get to know other parents of deaf and hard of hearing children

All parents want what is best for their child. Meeting other parents and learning about their experiences can help you find out about options and resources. You want to parent effectively, and this can give you an opportunity to learn about “real life” strategies that work. Meeting oth- er parents also can help you recognize that you are not the only one raising a child with hearing loss and can serve as a means of support.

Get to know successful deaf and hard of hearing adults

Deaf and hard of hearing adults are young deaf and hard of hearing children grown up. Seeing successful deaf and hard of hearing adults can increase an understanding of what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing and may help facilitate acceptance of the child’s hearing loss.

Given appropriate language learning, educational, and social opportunities, deaf and hard of hearing persons can achieve the same rates of academic, social and personal fulfillment as hearing individuals. Meeting successful deaf and hard of hearing adults may give you a vision of success for your child that might be difficult to envision otherwise. deaf and hard of hearing adults, most of whom come from hearing families, can share their experiences with you and provide information and encouragement. As in all communities, there is diversity in the deaf and hard of hearing community, and parents benefit from meeting deaf and hard of hearing persons from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and opinions.

Recommended Reading

Increasing Literacy Skills with Your Deaf Infant
It is never too early to communicate with your child, especially if they are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Infant and Toddler Program
If your infant or toddler has been identified with a hearing loss, they may be eligible for services under the Infant and Toddlers Program of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Picking Educational Programs
Often parents want to know what the best program is, or whether a particular program is better than another one.

Additional Resources