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Challenges faced by parents of deaf children

As per data, there are around 20 lakh children in India who are deaf. Very few of these children are diagnosed on time and thus get delayed treatment or support which affects their future.

The screening of the hearing ability of newborn babies is crucial. In some cases hearing aids and cochlear implants can be used to enable the children to hear. But the earlier this starts, the more effective it is, say experts.

Varsha Variar, a teacher for deaf children, says many parents are unwilling to accept that their child needs treatment for hearing impairments.

Parents not ready to accept the condition of their child is a major hurdle in the growth of the children. It is crucial that parents accept the disability the child has so that help and support can be provided from a young age. Delaying the learning process of the children will only make their lives more challenging as they grow. - Varsha Variar, Teacher

Early diagnoses is even more important for children who are completely deaf and cannot hear through hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Sign language, lip reading and special education programs can be used for the academic and overall development of the children who are deaf.

The education system in the country is facing a huge shortage of resources that are invaluable for students who are deaf. The lack of proper infrastructure and facilities needed for the education of deaf children means that quality education remains a distant dream for them and their parents.

Some of the challenges are:

- Parents of deaf children face a lot of struggle in their upbringing. One of the main challenges is communication hurdle.Parents are not able to communicate with a child who is deaf if they don't use sign language.

- Lack of awareness about sign language and the huge shortage of sign language interpreters and deaf teachers is also a major factor.

- However, the underlying reason in most cases is the lack of acceptance amongst the parents about the disability in the child. Parents could feel the pressure due to social stigma that stops them from accepting their child with disabilities.

"I feel that parents should completely accept the children and provide their support and affection without any prejudice. The self-esteem of the children grows with the support and love of parents and helps them face challenges of life, says Rukhsana Hanif who has a child who is deaf.

Accepting the problem is the first step towards looking for ways to enable your child and yourself to cope better. There are many avenues available today to empower your child and yourself so parents must look at ways of enabling themselves.

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