If you have been following our journey on Hearing Like Me, you’ll know that my son Harry is three and is profoundly deaf. He wears Advanced Bionics bilateral cochlear implants, which he hears fantastically well through, but of course without them he is again in a world of silence.
He is and always will be a deaf person.
As a parent of course I am instinctively protective, but I try not to be too overprotective of Harry. I don’t make any more fuss over him than other parents would of their children. Mainly because I think if I was to ‘wrap him in cotton wool’ or treat him differently then he would start to view himself as different, which is something I want to steer him away from.
Yes, Harry he has a hearing loss and may have to wear equipment on his head, but he really is no different to any of his friends. I want him to know that. I want to show him that everyone should be treated in the same way, therefore I practice what I preach.
In terms of expectations, I think they have changed a lot since Harry received his cochlear implants. I think that once I saw his personality take shape and his speech and listening improve incredibly quickly I realized that my expectations could be the exact same as that of a parent of a hearing child.
I do, however, give Harry a lot more patience than I probably would a hearing child. He can get very frustrated if I can’t understand what he is saying or if he doesn’t know the word for something. I help him through the frustration by encouraging him to try to sign what he is trying to say or I get him to show me.
“He can get very frustrated if I can’t understand what he is saying or if he doesn’t know the word for something. I help him through the frustration by encouraging him to try to sign what he is trying to say or I get him to show me.”
Read more: How sign language helped us in an emergency
I used to spend a lot of time worrying about the future. Worrying about bullying and Harry’s self confidence when he starts school. But as time has gone on and the more we meet new people and children, I realize that half the time no one actually notices that Harry wears cochlear implants, or even notice that he has a hearing loss.
Children can be bullied for any reason, the color of their hair, skin or even the clothes they wear. It is out of my control and I realized it was a worry for any parent, not just me. I think it’s important to teach your child to respect others, and they will hopefully be able to surround themselves with others who treat them with respect.
Harry is still so young, so who knows what he will grow into. In the meantime, I am focused on always helping him reach his full potential.
What are your thoughts on raising a deaf child? I would love to hear them in the comments section!