90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Discovering that your child is deaf can bring about a wide range of emotions especially to new parents. From sorrow and shock to fear and guilt, these emotions take time to settle in. Since their child is “diagnosed” as deaf, the parents automatically begin to feel there is something wrong with their child to begin with. When this very first reaction comes out to be negative, all following news regarding their child being deaf seem to be taken negatively as well.
Psychology suggests the first five years are crucial for a child’s health and development phase. During these 5 years and the years to follow, it is highly recommended that parents meet all social, emotional and educational needs of their child. Having a safe and loving environment where the child can spend time with family and communicate well with them to create a strong bond is very important. If a deaf child is born to hearing parents, it often takes very long till the child can find a possible way to communicate with the parents.
Once parents find out their child is born deaf or is now facing hearing difficulty, they can consider two main communication options: they can either begin sign language classes for their child or they can teach their child to speak English with the help of hearing aids and intensive speech training. The first option requires learning deaf communication. It’s a challenge for both, the hearing parents and the deaf child to learn a language that has only been recently developed and is not known by many in the society. The second option is also a challenge but mostly for the deaf child. Having said that, getting a hearing aid along with speech therapy also means the child can better fit in the society. More people know English than they know sign language.
Where these two options may seem very feasible for some of us, it’s important to understand that many deaf children in the world come from poor backgrounds and getting access to hearing aids or speech training may be out of the question for majority of them. Sign language classes do not come free of cost. It is rather upsetting to see that a parent has to worry about being able to afford a class that enables him to communicate with his very own child. Many low income countries like Pakistan have deaf schools that enable parents to learn sign language without having to pay. These schools are run on donations and help educate and empower the deaf children of their country.
Deaf Reach Schools provide Parent Training Classes. These biweekly literacy and sign language classes enable parents to learn Pakistan Sign Language and take an active role in their child’s development process. This is done by effective and engaging parent child communication. All Parent Training Classes are facilitated with the help of online donations collected from the website www.fesfna.org .