I recently had a chance to talk to James about what it is like to be Nelson’s father.
This is his story:
Kirsten: How has your perspective on life changed since finding out about Nelson’s hearing loss?
James: Our perspective on life has changed at the realization at the lack of deaf awareness and the proud community that the hearing world doesn’t see. That’s why my wife and I feel so strongly about spreading deaf awareness.
We have embraced Nelson’s deafness with a positive attitude and continue to do so. If anyone wants to ask questions, we will always take the time to answer.
“We have embraced Nelson’s deafness with a positive attitude and continue to do so.”
Having a deaf child isn’t something any parent should feel sad about even in the early days. Celebrate and enjoy the journey you are going on, we certainly are and our family have been enjoying the learning curve of deafness and sign language.
Kirsten: What is the most rewarding part about having a son with hearing loss?
James: Sign language, without a doubt! We found ourselves in a very fortunate place as my wife Becky has been learning British Sign Language (BSL) for the past five years and has completed her BSL level 3. It was a complete fluke that we now have a deaf son.
Becky having this knowledge of sign language and deaf awareness proven to be invaluable. Becky has given sign language lessons to myself and close family so we can communicate with Nelson. The rewards come when you see your child signing “Mum”, “want”, “light” or any other sign that he learnt. It is also rewarding to see him understand signs when he gets excited when we sign “kiss” or “milk” to him. I can’t stress the importance of sign language enough, even with the amazing cochlear implants that are accessible to children.
Kirsten: What advice would you give other fathers who have children with hearing loss?
James: When we found out Nelson was deaf, I had a bit of a wobble, but Becky soon brought me back around to realize that it is only hearing loss and that Nelson is still completely healthy. Embrace the deafness and learn from it. You may have seen a hashtag knocking around on social media #DeafKidsRock and they certainly do!