Family to Family Support

Family to Family Support

Families with children who have children who are deaf and hard of hearing often say they wished they had connected with experienced parents sooner. “Is my child going to be okay?” “Am I going to be okay?” are two of the unspoken worries many parents hold onto that do not tend to be shared in an appointment with professionals. Further down the road, you may have questions about many topics, from whether your child’s hearing level could change, if your child will be included in school activities, and helping your child become confident and safe in your community. As you learn about your child’s needs as they grow, you may also have questions about your rights as a parent, and how to get access to participate in everything the world has to offer, whether that be team sports or driver’s education training.

An experienced parent can help you make sense of your family’s journey and help you find your way. A trained parent can help you bring what you are learning about language development from the professionals in your life into your daily life. You may look for an occasional “dose” of parent support all through your little one’s childhood, and perhaps even become friends with a circle of parents who “get it”. “What, you too? I thought I was the only one” says author C.S. Lewis. While our kids are part of a rare group, you can create a circle of support no matter where you live. From the time of identification to those first years after high school, experienced parents can come alongside you to help you think about what is truly important. Parent-to-parent support programs can also connect you to Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) adult role models and mentors in your area, who can help you understand your child’s experience.

“Connecting with other parents is treatment.”

- Megan Nix, author and parent of a deaf child with CMV (cytomegalovirus)

“The audiologist told us to keep hearing aids in ‘all waking hours.’ Realizing that was a long-term goal, not an immediate one, took the pressure off and helped us positively reframe our idea of success.”

- Lindsey Anderson, Parent of a preschooler whose hearing loss was recently identified

You, your child and your whole family can benefit from the lived experience and earned wisdom of other parents, especially those parents trained to support others. Meaningful parent-to-parent support includes:

  • More confidence, empowerment, and a sense of well-being about parenting your child who is deaf/hard of hearing
  • Less stress  
  • Practical parenting skills
  • How to help your child with language and communication
  • Good questions to ask your medical, educational, and community providers
  • Meeting other parents and D/HH adults

Other parents on the journey can even help you make sense of how your child behaves, where to look for the lost hearing equipment, how to find and connect with D/HH adults and celebrate with you when a big milestone is met. We can explain the many new terms you are learning, help you understand the “why” behind the many appointments recommended, and encourage you when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Explore these hand-picked resources and articles.   

Resources

“I gained more understanding about hearing loss from talking to another parent who actually wears hearing aids herself. It was like a light bulb went off! Once I realized there was more to it, I began to research and learn about the many challenges my daughter has and what we can do to support her. I had been in the dark for so long. It feels great to finally understand.”

- Laura Scott, parent

“If there is one piece of advice I could give, it would be to allow space for all the difficult feelings. Feel them deeply. Let those feelings sink in and have their moment. But then, find that strength. You are the perfect parent for your child. You are the advocate they need, and the voice that they don’t yet have. You did win the baby lottery.”

- Britney Moell, parent of a deaf/hh child with autism

  • Find other parents for your own personal support or get involved in the EHDI* system where you live:
  • Hands & Voices Parent App: Download this free app and receive 90 days of daily wisdom: a parent quote, a D/HH adult quote, a resource and a website to scroll back through whenever you need a little inspiration.
  • Visit the Family Leadership in Language and Learning Center (FL3) for resources and information you can use today for your young child’s development. You will find both resources and research on this page. https://handsandvoices.org/fl3/index.html
  • Join the Fostering Joy Project: a movement to celebrate the magic of raising children who are deaf/hard of hearing. With all the emphasis on communication and language, we do not want families to lose the joy of our child. Experts and research show us ways to increase positive interactions and decrease stress.  Be a Joy Ambassador! http://www.handsandvoices.org/resources/fostering-joy.htm
  • Want to be get a jump on about your child’s social/emotional development? Spend some time with the O.U.R. Children's Safety and Success Project, and help your child build safety skills. You teach your child about safety in crossing streets and electrical outlets, right? These are safety skills for being with other people, including people your child knows, strangers, and the internet. The Parent Safety Toolkit is a good place to start. 

Information about how family support helps:

Where Families Find Support
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This project is supported by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) through its grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $4,000,000 with 0% percentage financed with nongovernmental sources (Grant H7DMC37565). The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by AMCHP, HRSA, HHS, or the US Government.