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 Judith H., Somewhere USA

I am interesed in adopting a 10 year old girl that is deaf. I have had some experience with sign language. I would like to communicate with parents that have children like her so that I can be more informed and other issues that I might experience. Is there a book of signing that anyone might recommend for me?

Question from Judith H., Somewhere USA. Posted February 9, 2010.
Response from Marc Marschark - NTID

I have contacted several parent groups, and both Hands & Voices and the American Society for Deaf Children (see Partners page) have urged you to get in touch with them. They have a number of parents who were in your situation, and they would be happy to share. [Separately, I will send you e-mail addresses of individuals who have adopted deaf children themselves.] With regard to learning to sign, these organizations, sign language experts, and I all urge you not to depend on books or related material. Learning to sign is just like learning any other language, and it is neither as quick nor easy as many people expect. There are some good DVDs out there, and the (expensive) “Bravo! ASL” series was highly recommended, but face-to-face sign language lessons are essential. And not all sign language programs are created equal. Your best bet is likely a local university or community college. If you let us know where you live, we may be able to make specific recommendations.