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When Estelle was diagnosed as severely deaf when she was 18 months old, Estelle’s mum, Joanna was devastated. 

“All I wanted was to speak to another parent of a deaf child who could tell me that Estelle would be okay,” she says.  “Instead I was given a ‘showbag’ full of dry medical brochures and send home to deal with my child’s hearing loss.  I sat on my bed and cried for days.”

Joanna’s story isn’t an isolated one.  More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing families who have little or no experience of deafness.  For many of these parents, their child is often the first deaf person they have ever met.  No wonder so many report feeling isolated and confused following the diagnosis. 

Parents of deaf children can feel overwhelmed by the choices that have to be made as to how to best support their child.  Without being fully informed of all the options, they may begin to feel pressure to adopt one communication approach over another.  As a result, they may end up making rash decisions. 

The support of parents who have been through these experiences can often be an invaluable source of comfort and inspiration.  Family to family support is one of the best ways parents can gather knowledge and skills they need to navigate the world of deafness. 

Joanna’s desperate need to speak to another parent who had gone through a similar experience motivated her to set up a parent support group which has since become one of the largest parents of deaf children support networks in the country.  She has since shared her story in Breaking the Sound Barriers: 9 Deaf Success Stories so that other families of newly diagnosed deaf children can know that they are not alone. 

If you are a parent of a newly diagnosed deaf child, then one of the best things you could do for yourself is find a parent support group in your area.  These groups are a terrific way of  exchanging ideas and obtaining encouragement to face some of the challenges of raising your deaf child.  And if you have been on the journey for some time now, then why not offer your own experiences and guidance to someone who is new in the world of hearing loss?   You could significantly reduce their stress levels and even change their life…

Read more about the benefit of parent support groups in Breaking the Sound Barriers: 9 Deaf Success Stories.   You can buy the book on this website or click here to buy it Amazon.

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