Acknowledging this is a difficult time is important. But there are a few things we would like to reassure you about, based on our many years of experience working with families of children with all degrees of deafness.
You have time on your side
It may not be easy to accept, but truly your child is fortunate that his or her deafness was discovered soon after birth. There is so much you can do right now, and in the coming months ahead to get your baby off to a good start. Having this very early diagnosis gives you the time to begin to learn and absorb information so you are well prepared to help your baby as he or she reaches new stages of development.
Deaf children can and do learn to listen and talk
Every child is different. They learn at different speeds and they have different abilities and challenges and it is important that we are realistic about this. But with the right hearing aids or cochlear implants – and with good support – deaf children can and do learn to listen and talk. Together we can help them reach their potential!
Advances in hearing technology transform lives
Modern hearing aids, cochlear implants and additional supporting technologies have transformed the worlds of people with hearing loss. And in doing so, education services and society as a whole has learnt a great deal about supporting these children. The world can be a very positive place for them, with deaf sportspeople, actors/actresses and models in the public eye.
Expectations do not need to be different
Expectations for deaf children do not have to be any different to the ones we have for our hearing children. This may well not be the journey you had anticipated for your baby and you will certainly have to adjust the paths you take, but your child can still fulfil their dreams and goals whatever they turn out to be. What is needed now is time, patience and input.
Parents and professionals can offer support
Learning that your child is deaf and working out what to do next can feel very lonely. But please be assured that there is a community of fellow parents who know what you are going through who would like to help and professionals such as us who can guide you. Over time you will put a team of professionals around your baby who will support you in the choices that you make.
Having a strategy can help
The initial diagnosis is a time of turmoil. But by seeking information and help you have begun the process of supporting your baby. Many parents feel slightly less frightened when they have some goals to work towards and advice on how to achieve them. That is what we will do through our programme, and what other professionals around you will also do.
Parents tell us that it really helps to keep a folder with tabs/dividers for all the letters you receive from the professionals providing care for your child, and also to make a list of questions so when you have meetings then you can ask and get answers to the queries you have.