Deaf does not mean different
I don’t refer to my children’s names publicly but many of you will be aware that I have two, a son and a daughter. One is hearing the other is deaf and both of them amaze me with their fun-filled personalities.
Deafness is not always an easy thing to deal with when you’re a hearing parent of a deaf child and had never encountered it until the day of diagnosis. The equipment (if available through the postcode lottery that exists in the UK) is unfamiliar, it can also be too expensive to buy if you lost at the postcode lottery. Learning sign language and the regional variations can be complicated as in some parts of the country there is no support. You eventually find sign language courses but they turn out to be expensive or clash with working hours. Those you rely on don’t always listen to your questions and forget to tell you simple things such as where to get hearing aid batteries from; that was something we found out accidentally via a nearly missed remark from the speech and language therapist. You sense doors closing so dedicate yourself to unlocking them before your deaf child reaches them.
It was suddenly much harder when my deaf daughter became aware that she isn’t exactly the same as her brother, parents and friends; everyone else has ears that work. Overnight she felt different and not normal even though her deafness has been accepted and embraced as normal.
In our case there is also her hearing brother, he must not be forgotten. We work hard to support our hearing son while we are juggling work and feeling lost in a maze of appointments with our deaf daughter. There’s the moment when we told our son about the new extra powerful hearing aid that will replace the standard aid on one side, then holding back a tear when he hugs his younger sister as he cannot express himself through words.
This is why there have been no #100happydays posts recently. My heart shattered when my daughter asked me to stop her deafness. She wants me to get rid of it as she wants to be normal; she wants to be the same as everyone else. In our eyes deafness does not make her different or not normal. It won’t stop her from having a wonderful life as we are giving her the tools of sign and speech so that she can choose, but it does make it a little harder, and she’s just worked that one out.
Even though at times it feels as though a locked door is blocking the path, as a mum I will never let my daughter give up. I will remind her of how much she is loved. I will also mention what the audiologist said about the hairs in her cochlea doing the dad dance as that image brings back a smile and helps her to cope a little better. In my world love is a powerful sledge hammer that will open all locked doors.