A special welcome to you, new family just starting your journey with your child who is deaf or hard of hearing. This community was founded by parents for parents just like you! Whether your child who was recently identified is a baby or an older child/young adult, Hands & Voices would like to extend the offer to walk alongside you and provide support. We are a vast network of diverse experienced parents who are eager to help.
Learning your child is deaf or hard of hearing can bring on different emotions at different times. We understand and support your need to think through your unique family situation and we are able to help you find the professionals, resources and research you need to make informed choices for your family.
While you take in all the information available, it is easy to get overwhelmed and confused. This is where our community is uniquely equipped to offer guidance.
Tips from families a little further along the path.
Sounds obvious, but first and foremost, love your baby. The most important thing you can do is love & support your child.
Enjoy precious time with your child. Your role as their biggest cheerleader, greatest teacher and source of wisdom hasn’t changed. Consider joining a group of parents who celebrate the joy their child brings, like the Fostering Joy Facebook parent group or get tips on Instagram.
If you’re still in the process of determining your child’s hearing status, follow up.
This Loss and Found video can provide some insight to help you understand the importance of identification of hearing loss.
Finding professionals that can help you on your journey is key.
Finding professionals who can help you determine your child’s hearing level, and how your local early hearing detection and intervention system works is key. Second opinions should be welcomed and encouraged. And feel free to ask lots of questions of your child’s providers.
EHDI-PALS is a web-based searchable national directory. Links to information, resources, and services for children with hearing loss.
Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) operates with the goal of ensuring appropriate intervention by 6 months of age,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers free materials that can help you navigate your child's future.
Trust your instincts as a parent.
Your love for your child, your knowledge of your family’s needs, and your insight to how best to help your child is so valuable. Parents have enormous wisdom and insight and more than happy to share. Hands & Voices Book of Choice is packed full of parent stories and information for new families.
We have great family stories in out newpaper The Communicator and we have a large library of stories in our articles section of our web site.
My point is that in the beginning of our journey, we were told that there was only one right way to raise our daughter or she would be doomed. By taking the time to meet other d/hh adults, I have learned that it’s not about finding THE right way, but finding what works for our daughter, in our family, in her life.
– Janet DesGeorges
Seek out other parents who can share their experiences and offer support. The Hands & Voices Chapter near you is a great place to start.
Here are stories from deaf and hard of hearing youth and adults.Connect Here
Your child might be the first deaf or hard of hearing person you have been lucky enough to meet. With time, you are encouraged to seek out adults who are deaf and hard of hearing who are living examples of just how successful our children can be.
Here is a list of programs providing connections with adults who are deaf and hard of hearing.Connect Here
Most important of all, know you are not alone! We are here for you. One of the most important steps you can take for your child is to find community. We are so glad you reached out and can’t wait to know your family and child better.
- The Hands & Voices Team