The Rigors Faced By Children of Hearing Impaired Parents
Dr. Humaira Bano
Roll No. E12-336
DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF THE PUNJAB, LAHORE
Children with deaf parents are as varied as children in the general population. Some excel academically, others are athletically endowed. Children with deaf parents can be avid readers, budding musicians or creative artists. Some feel at ease in almost any situation while other children may feel more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of their family and community.
“Mother father deaf” is a phrase commonly used in the deaf community to identify a hearing child of deaf parents (HCDP). Statistics show that over 90% of all deaf parents have hearing children, referred to as CODA’s (children of deaf adults.) These are families that bridge the divide between the hearing and deaf worlds, thus facing unique communication and parenting challenges.
Hearing children born to Deaf parents often experience a delicate balancing act between two worlds: the culture and language of their Deaf parents, and the “hearing world” of their peers and teachers. Hearing child tenderly become a robot of words and sounds for people, caught between the world of the deaf and the world of hearing people. (Walker, 1986) A hearing child of Deaf parents may be considered bilingual in Pakistani Sign Language and Urdu (or trilingual if another spoken language dominates their home environment, e.g. regional language or English). A child who is a native signer of PSL should not be considered language-impaired or language-delayed. Instead, that child is most likely acquiring two languages (PSL and spoken Urdu) and experiences life as a bilingual. "I was an adult before I was a child,” (Walker, 1986) Coda’s often serve as interpreters for their parents, thus becoming the communication link between their parents and the hearing world. There are several concerns surrounding children that serve as interpreters for their parents. One concern is that children are expected to interpret in situations that are considered inappropriate, whether its subject or age appropriateness, placing them in confusing and vulnerable situations. This creates for some hearing children an unwanted pressure and burden that they are too young to resist or negotiate. (Singleton & Tittle, 2000.) Another issue, which is perhaps the most critical, is the issue of communication between the deaf parent and the hearing child. Studies show that most deaf parents “have no particular problem” accepting their child’s ability to hear, but are “acutely aware” that parenthood forces them to address things “they have no knowledge about.” (Sell, 2001) The family power structure is greatly influenced by the flow of information. The flow of information in a hearing family is open within the family system and outside the family system to the larger community, but the flow of information changes drastically with the addition of a deaf member; moreover, it can be severely restricted when families with deaf and hearing members do not have a mutual communication system. (Rienzi, 1990.) Furthermore, communication between a deaf parent and a hearing child may not always be effective. The deaf parent may use fragmented speech to...
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