Posts with tag: "cochlear implants"
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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By the time our third child came around, my husband and I thought we knew all there was to know about raising a baby. And we were right…until 15 months later, when we found out Leah was profoundly deaf. 


As a hearing parent of a deaf child, I came face-to-face with a world that was incredibly foreign to me. I was flooded with questions and decisions that I had not been previously equipped to answer. Do we learn sign language or attend a special school? Do we use hearing aids or the new cochlear implants? She was our child, the same family, the same last name, a sibling, a granddaughter, a niece… but this was something new and different. Every choice we made impacted her life: sign language, speech therapy, cochlear implants, exposure to the” hearing world” through sports, community and her education. Our family and extended family were very involved,  Leah not only “fit in”, but brought us together as we watched her learn sign language and eventually learned to speak so clearly that a stranger wouldn’t even know she was deaf. Each decision we made shaped her into the person she would become.


Reflecting back, I’m not sure I would do anything differently, but perhaps I would have done it better. I would have kept up on my sign language skills and practiced more as a family. As Leah talked more clearly, we all became lazy in our signing, assuming she understood everything. I would have exposed her to more Deaf culture instead of her having to learn that side of herself through her college friends. I wouldn’t have expected her to conform to our “hearing world” so much, but instead let her deafness be part of who she was and embrace it.  


Family means the world to me and, happily, we get to experience this again with two of our five grandchildren who are deaf. Watching the choices Leah and her husband Shaun make with Jonah and Lucy is refreshing. Will they do things differently than their own hearing parents? 


Really, the core of any language is love. And regardless of any choices we made, love transcended both worlds, hearing and deaf. 


Julie Provenzano

Speech Pathologist Teacher

Schlegel Road Elementary