The DEAF Project provides families and professionals with an introduction to the vibrant possibilities attainable by deaf/hard-of-hearing children. The project aims to help parents realize the positive lifetime journey of bonding with and raising a deaf or hard-of-hearing child, rather than struggling with how to “fix” a “disabled” child.
Overwhelmingly, the majority of information parents receive from medical institutions when they learn that their child is deaf or hard of hearing suggests that these infants are disabled and treatment focuses upon the notion of disability and remediation. Parents are left to navigate the terrain of “what comes next” on their own, or naively accept the medical advice they receive as the only option available.
The DEAF Project is different. We focus on the abilities and wellness of DHH children. The DEAF Project works together with the medical community and families by providing parent-to-parent support, education and empowerment to build knowledge and create positive experiences for families and their DHH children.
There remains a critical need for families to receive information and support at the time of the first hearing screening referral through the diagnostic, referral, and follow-up processes. The information disseminated to families must be specifically designed for the unique needs of infants and toddlers who are DHH. This information is most effective when provided by knowledgeable professionals and parent mentors who have a comprehensive understanding of all possibilities available to DHH children.
Our work has educated and empowered families. In response to one of our workshops, a parent wrote: "I wanted to express our gratitude for the invitation to participate in such a valuable meeting. We left emotionally spent, but also satisfied with a better understanding of our children's world. Before this meeting, we were not putting all the pieces together; we were missing the big picture. We have found peace of mind knowing there are many others who have traveled this path."