As the parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, you probably have questions, and the questions change as your child grows from an infant to a young adult. Are you worried that you don’t know the questions you should be asking? Need help sorting through all the information you are receiving? Do you have questions about how to communicate with your child who is deaf or hard of hearing? Help is here. Call our parent support line at: 1-833-575-5465.
Meet Julie Swaim
Talk to a parent who has been where you are now.
We had so many questions when our son was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at 10-months-old. We started and restarted “our journey” into this unknown world many times. People who had relatives with hearing loss advised us to learn Signed Exact English while others told us our son needed to learn American Sign Language (ASL). Friends trying to find the right words to comfort me would say: ‘You can do this! You already speak Spanish, so this is just another language to learn.’ But all I could think about was that I wanted our son to be able to access his own information, form his own thoughts and come to his own conclusions.
Then I received a letter (Yes, this was back in the 90s before email and internet!) from my best friend’s college roommate who was an oral deaf adult. She suggested that we consider teaching our son to listen and speak. She gave me the name of a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert. AVT or LSLS Cert. AVEd) and told us that sign language would be there if this approach did not work for him. This was the beginning of our adventure – starting with hearing aids and ending with cochlear implants. Just like raising any child, there were bends, turns and sometimes roundabouts on the path to adulthood. But we made it through.
Fast forward to today and our son has graduated from college and is professionally employed, married and living the life we had always hoped he would. Through the Parent Support Line, I help other parents navigate their journey – with their communication choice serving as the roadmap for the ultimate destination.