Thoughts on Parenting a Deaf Child

Chevone Petersen: Parenting Requires Fluidity

“We didn’t spend four years in speech and language therapy for you to verbally communicate with ‘brb’ and ‘lol'”.

“Don’t ‘yeah’ when yes and please is required, with a slight nod of your head.”

“Is this what four years of rushing to make a therapy session culminates to? Please use proper language!”.

A dark skinned mother with short tight curls, sunglasses,  wearing a sleeveless shirt driving a car with her son. Son is wearing sunglasses and smiling.
Chevone and her son

These are the things I caught myself saying to my son, with great annoyance, during 2020 while in lockdown.

Then it hit me, the bittersweet moment where I realized that my child is going to be fine. He’s got this!

He’s settled into lockdown mode where his social landscape’s gone completely virtual. He’s adapted his speech and language to fit the social platform. A language that mostly consists of emojis and all sort of short codes – abbreviations that actually translate into sentences, like, “wud – what you doing”. Most of it foreign to me as I find myself learning from my child that we adapt our language and communication style to fit the setting we’re in.

You see, in the beginning, as parents, we have these developmental goals.

Goals that become more “pressing” when you find yourself with a diagnoses of mild/moderate hearing loss at 4-years old. Assessments that indicate that your child is lagging far behind their same age peers. No amplification and lots of work to be done.

Me, a single parent, raised by a father despite having hearing loss himself, oblivious to what it actually meant to raise a child with hearing loss.

Shocked. Anxious. Alone. Determined.

My son completed a year at a special needs school for deaf/hard of hearing children. He received speech, language and occupational therapy and was fitted with hearing aids. He started to progress and suddenly mainstream schooling became the goal – my “golden standard” of success and achievement in 2014.


Little did I know how this parenting journey would shape me for the better. My son’s challenges in mainstream soon made me realize that I needed to reframe my view of parenting.

A boy with dark skin and tight curls stares into the camera with a slight smile. He's standing on a beach on a cloudy day.


This, soon became my “golden standard” of success and achievement. The ability to adapt, to remain fluid to the needs of my son. Understanding that his best interest may look very different to mine.

Thus, we exited the mainstream schooling environment in 2018 and took an almost 8 month break from formal structured learning. It was blissful, a much needed break from the constant pressure to achieve and be on-par with same-age peers.

These days we focus on what works best for us.


What works today may not work tomorrow, but we are at peace with where we are at. Being autistic and having hearing loss now means that we do things differently. We accommodate and we adapt. We observe and we learn.

Fluidity, our key to a less anxious state of being mother and child.

Read more: Live Your Best Life Even in Your Weakest Moments

Stoked in Silence

Chevone’s Blog: ChevsLife


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