When I meet people and some of them would say “I have never talked to a deaf person before” or “What does that mean?” while they are learning how to interact with a deaf person. It is not something you are supposed to be a professional at. It may mean taking the time to learn and to be flexible to meet a deaf person on a bridge between deaf and hearing worlds. It does take a lot of patience. We do appreciate the effort and consideration from others who are willing to do so.
It is not just you that have to learn to communicate and interact with us, we also learn to communicate with you and interact with you. It works both ways. The best example is my daughter. She was born to a deaf mother. She was not equipped with every power and knowledge right away . Over the years, she continues to learn to communicate with me, what I am capable of and not capable of, and when I cannot hear (device off, in water, in dark, and the whispers). I noticed recently she has been whispering to me in conversations knowing I can lip read and I’ll whisper back to her “Why are you whispering?”. Did you know I continue to learn to communicate with her because she keeps growing, her speech keeps changing and her teeth position keeps changing?Did you know when I get new mapping sounds in my processor or new processor, it is like learning all over again..For my daughter, she studies me grasping the sounds and it requires patience every time
My daughter is in fifth grade, lots of fast things going on that her peers are experiencing like when we were in high school. For example, gossiping, say things they do or do not mean.I educate her that all children are extraordinary not just certain ones. ALL. They all are amazing, unique in their own ways, and there is something we can learn from each individual. Even as adults! I educate her that everyone has their own journey, a few miles to a million miles of pain, struggles, strength,and trials. What if they are going through a transition such as death, divorce, income changes, moving, drugs, alcoholism, disabilities and other personal issues.
Life is not easy. It is their chapter. It’s their pace how they want to perceive it and how to grow from it. Do not judge. We do not know.I tell her to choose words carefully and think about them. Protect your words if you do not want others to know and if you do not want to hurt them. Spread the words by saying the words to change the world, to show kindness and love, to educate others and to learn from others. Protect or spread the words. Choose.
As a parent, my main focus on parenting is guiding her on choices, actions, morals and values. Share thoughts, show her outside of her painting what we see as she’s not always aware. Coping skills when she gets frustrated or boredom I guide her to express her frustrations by saying “ I am feeling anxious because I am bored or hurt” and figure out how to get through it. Stop and breathe. Slow down and learn. Time is precious. We have to learn to understand others and ourselves.
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".