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  • New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children Inc

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What parents have to say…

In a member survey in late 2015 we asked parents to tell us ‘What do you believe that parents of a newly diagnosed baby or child should know?’

“The world hasn’t ended but it has changed  Just 'be' in the moment and don't worry endlessly about the future. Trust your own instincts - and use them to seek out what is best for YOUR child, every child is different. Be as multilingual as you can and try every assistive technology, but remember, they are still children, so let them just be that too.”

“That the situation isn’t as black and white as some professionals present it - some professionals will try and convince you towards a specific communication mode in the way out of date "sign versus oral" context. Others will state that doing both is better than doing one when there is actually zero evidence to back up this statement.”

“Parents should be aware of the local parent support group, to be able to meet and support both parents and the child and siblings. Never be to afraid to ask questions. They should be treated as the child's first teachers, they will learn to become the child's first and strongest advocate.”

“Access the Deaf community, as they have been there and know their way around the system. Talk with them and understand Deaf culture.”

“Although it may be a huge shock for you to find out that your son or daughter is deaf, and although you may feel that your whole world has been turned upside down, your child has (generally) been deaf from birth and that is their world and reality... They will be ok. You will be ok. There is a lot of support out there. NZSL is VERY important for your child. Hearing devices don't always work well and aren't always on and being able to communicate with your child when they don't have their device on is invaluable.” 

To keep talking to your child & get them to look at you... Seek support.” 

“Talk talk talk. Take every opportunity to communicate with your child. It will all work out.”

“Don't isolate themselves and child from public. Join groups and facebook pages to realise they don't have to travel thisjourney alone. They are allowed the feelings they are having and it's ok have feelings whatever they might be.” 

“Learn sign language! I think a lot of parents go for aiding/cochlears and don't bother to learn/use sign language as a back up. Signing is a marvellous resource, easy to learn, can be used in conjunction with speech, aids and removes communication barriers. We would have been lost without sign. My toddler was nonverbal but when I began signing with him, he seized it, soaked it up - he suddenly had the means to communicate.”

“Our Deaf children are extraordinary, it can be a tough road, but they succeed. Find others who have travelled the road before you to help you. It makes a huge difference.” 

“Find support from others parents, it is invaluable. It is normal to grieve, learn to advocate- fast. It is going to be ok’.” 

“Hearing loss on its own does not need to have any effect on your child's opportunities and your aspirations for them.”

“Every stage in age you go through has its worries and concerns, but it does get easier the more knowledge you get. Do research, ask questions and be your child's voice, don't be timid and shy say what you want and need. You know your child better then any doctor, go with your gut feeling. Make friends with other families they will prove to be a huge support.”