Approximately 3 out of every 1000 children born are born deaf or hard of hearing. Although great strides have been made in the area of helping hard of hearing and deaf children, like the 1984 the approval of the first Cochlear implants, more can be done.
Families who have a child that is hard of hearing or deaf have many challenges to face when learning to help their child succeed. The following 10 organizations can help parents of deaf children find the support and resources they need.
- Hands & Voices: Hands & Voices started out as a local parent group that ended up taking their group national. This organization provides unbiased information as a means of helping and informing parents of hard of hearing or deaf children. There are many different methodologies concerning deaf children and how they should be taught. Hands & Voices seeks to unite everyone and make all of this information available to parents and others.
- CHI: The Children’s Hearing Institute is a great resource for parents trying to figure out what their options are in regards to treatment for their hearing impaired child. They have information regarding Cochlear implants and can even recommend centers that perform the implant surgery. They list support groups for families among with many other useful resources for parents.
- ASDC: The American Society for Deaf Children was started in 1967 as a parent support network that grew into the national non-profit organization that it is today. The ASDC supports the interest of all deaf and hard of hearing people with congress. You can join the ASDC and receive their newspaper which covers many interesting facts that are helpful to those people struggling with the challenges of deafness.
- CIAF: The Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation was formed in 2006. This organization is a non-profit that focuses on providing information and support to those parents thinking about getting a Cochlear implant for their child. Useful information like how much of the surgery is normally covered through insurance and ongoing implant maintenance costs is made available to parents.
- SEE: The Signing Exact English Center for Advancement of Deaf Children is a non-profit organization that promotes learning exact English in sign language. ASL or American Sign Language uses a short hand of sorts often with their own vocabulary and words that are specific to ASL. SEE believes that learning exact English will help deaf children and those that are hard of hearing adapt to vocabulary used by hearing people.
- HLAA: The Hearing Loss Association of America is an organization that is looking out for the best interests of people with hearing loss. There are 36 million Americans that have some degree of hearing loss. HLAA lobbies the government to get new legislation in place for people with disabilities. HLAA also raises money for research into treating hearing loss and finding a cure. This organization also provides support groups for families of deaf or hard of hearing people.
- AGB: The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides financial aid for those families that need help with providing adequate learning opportunities for their child. AGB wants to make sure that everyone who is deaf or hearing impaired has a chance to speak and communicate with their hearing peers.
- Boys Town: The Boys Town National Research Hospital has made great strides in hearing research and is acknowledged as the leader in this field. This organization does many other things, but its services regarding hard of hearing children and early detection is unsurpassed. Boys Town Hospital provides great resources for parents to learn how best to communicate with their child and what steps can be and should be taken with their care going forward.
- Gallaudet: The Gallaudet University is home to the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. This is a government run program that has been tasked with increasing the accomplishments of deaf and hard of hearing students ages 0-21. They provide assistance to families and to professionals who work with these students. Another one of their priorities is to guide legislation in order to improve the lives of people with hearing loss.
- Beginnings: Beginnings for Parents of Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Inc. touches on a lot of key issues that parents will need to deal with as their child progresses. They promote early detection, discuss options for treatment and provide an overview of current technology. Beginnings also shares information on the issues parents may run into when public schooling their hearing impaired or deaf child.
Finding the support and resources that you need as a parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing is one of the most important things facing you. For guidance, resources and support check out these organizations and any state chapters specific to your locale.