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I am a Deaf mother who uses Auslan (Australian Sign Language) predominately at home with my Deaf husband and three beautiful hearing children, all under 12. I run a Deaf yoga and counselling business for the Deaf community. I enjoy yoga, meditative walking, swimming, bike riding and bushwalks with my family. I also enjoy tending my vegetable garden and chickens.
Recently, my elder son Bernhard turned on the radio at home and in the car without asking me for permission. He is 11 years old and has discovered the world of radio. I cannot hear the radio but it has never bothered me in the past. But now that radio concerns my delightful children, it does bother me. I wanted to know what sort of songs, music, and news items they would be hearing. I wanted to raise them well, and did not want them exposed to age inappropriate radio or TV. I needed to find out more.
Australian Theatre of the Deaf (ATOD) has been running for many years in Sydney and has now moved to Melbourne. I spoke to the actors and director to find out how different or special the ATOD is in comparison to other theatre companies. I also asked what sort of plays they have provided in the past and discussed the challenges and benefits of running plays for Deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
Parents sometimes get upset when their children are born deaf. They don't know what to do. There are some educational resources listed here that can teach parents how to communicate with their Deaf children. Educators or specialised schools can also help by giving parents new coping strategies as well as educational resources. But nothing beats spending time with your child in a family environment.
Dr Allen Sussman is a well-known Deaf American who specialises in mental health and deafness. He is a university professor, he has worked in mental health centres and has written books. I met him when I was his student in America. I was studying to be a Deaf therapist. I agree with what he believes makes a healthy well-adjusted Deaf person. This includes a Deaf person accepting their deafness and an ability to communicate in sign language, speech, or both, and also to have relationships with both hearing and deaf people. I learned a lot from Dr Sussman and consider him a role model.
In the past many hearing children had to interpret for their Deaf parents. They interpreted at bank, school and doctor appointments. As adults, they now say that interpreting often made them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. They felt like they were acting as carers for their parents. Today there is less need for children to interpret as we now have better accessible services. But some Deaf people still ask their hearing children to interpret for them. I think Deaf people should leave their children alone and let them translate as little as possible.