Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from W.W., Florida

As a hearing parent of a deaf child and an active participant in advocating for the best academic and social placements, it is very concerning to see so many videos, articles and social media feeds “bashing hearing parents ” and their choices in raising their children. When this happens, it makes it very difficult to trust that the “deaf community” has my child’s best academic and social growth at heart versus pushing a hidden agenda. In addition, deaf of deaf (deaf families) seem to exclude other deaf /hard-of-hearing children with hearing parents creating at times hostile learning environments.

Is there any current research addressing the social emotional impact on deaf/hard-of-hearing students based on the aforementioned ? Are there longitudinal studies that measure the overall mental health/wellness of these students as they meet academic/vocational goals as well as balance their basic family system and the negativity on social media regarding having parents who are hearing?

When looking at post-high school academic options, what are colleges/universities specifically for deaf/hard-of-hearing students doing to ensure the overall wellness of these students? I would be concerned to send my child to a school that supports this type of propaganda.

Question from W.W., Florida. Posted May 9, 2016.
Response from Mark Rosica - NTID

If you experience anybody “bashing” parents for the decisions they make, they’re obviously coming from the perspective of their own anger and frustration. Parents need to make a plethora of decisions about raising and their deaf child and are bombarded with opinions, facts, and suggestions from several different communities; educational, medical, audiological & speech, deaf education, etc. Many of these “opinions, facts, and suggestions” lack support in the relevant research and, as you know, there are no “right answers.” There are only decisions that one can make in the best interest of the family’s needs and goals. The field of deaf education has yet been able to discover the optimum educational path and communication method to optimize psycho-emotional development. Don’t ever let anyone’s criticism of your decisions have anything but a negligible impact on you.