Experiences of Hearing Siblings

What do you think your hearing children have learned from having a sibling who is deaf or hard of hearing?

I know for a fact that my hearing child demonstrates much more tolerance and acceptance of people with a disability, as well as people who are different in any way, than most of his peers. He knows first-hand that his sister is just like anyone else, but is perceived as different by people who don't understand deafness. I think they have learned tolerance to some extent. They saw the struggles and how hard she had worked to succeed to become the teen she is today, so I think they feel a special pride in her accomplishments. But they don't cut her any slack! I think most of all they have learned acceptance. The hearing loss is just a small part of who a person is. This is a very difficult question. I think she has learned that people can be different and function differently and yet be just like every other kid. She doesn't understand why other people don't understand that. She also had to learn something very hard, and that was the fear of losing her brother. This was because of the meningitis, not the hearing loss. Now she is very afraid whenever he gets sick and asks a lot of questions. Our hearing child is able to look at others who have disabilities in an accepting way. He does not see having a disability as something that should prevent an individual from being what he wants to be. Just because people do things differently than you do, or that is out of the norm, doesn't mean that you can't be friends with them. I think they have learned a lot about acceptance and diversity and will continue to learn it as they grow older. Our hearing children have learned many things from having deaf and hard of hearing siblings. They have learned the importance of sounds and communication that they would otherwise take for granted. They have learned that their siblings who are deaf and hard of hearing are able to do anything they work to achieve. They have learned about coping, and have learned that diversity is not so different. Though we did not see it in the beginning, when we look back we can now see that having a child who is deaf or hard of hearing has been a real blessing to our family. It teaches compassion and draws out some of the best qualities in a person. Love, patience, and empathy for others, are only a few of the traits we see developing in our children. It has become one of the binding forces holding our family together, all wrapped up in our precious little one!

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