Parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be a wonderful source of support. Most parents tell us that meeting with veteran families is one of the most helpful things they did. The specialist coming into your home can put you in contact with those families within your school district.
You might feel hesitant at first. This is natural. Meeting with other parents can be a big reality check. However, there are many benefits to making those contacts.
Many of the people in the places where your family visits will be happy to make changes to accommodate your baby, and later your child.
Find programs in your community to help your family support your child's development and growth.
You will help the family doctor understand your child's unique needs. Not all nurses and pediatricians have first-hand experience with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, but most are willing to learn.
If you attend a church, mosque, or synagogue, you can encourage the staff and congregation to get acquainted with your baby and to become a part of his or her spiritual growth.
If you live in a small community and know people who will see you and your baby often (grocer, librarian, mail carrier, etc), start early to make them a part of your baby's life, just as you would your hearing children.
Take note of things that interest your child and encourage participation in social activities. Mommy and Me playgroups, soccer teams, dance class or music lessons are some examples of extracurricular activities that you can try. Some cities have classes, troops and teams that are organized for deaf or hard-of-hearing children. Some have mixed groups, and some provide an interpreter to allow a single signing child to participate.
Many larger communities also have support services that you can explore and experience while your baby is still young. For example, an active Deaf community, a cochlear implant support group,
Hands and Voices or a branch of
Hearing Loss Association of America may advocate for local movies to be captioned to supplement hearing devices. These groups may have other social gatherings that include families.