Wednesday March 13, 2013
Undaunted by deafness
How a deaf couple raise their hearing children.
RAISING children in itself is a daunting task, more so if you and your spouse are deaf and your children are not. Like administrative and human resource officer Jocephyne Yap and her supervisor husband Charlie Wong.
The couple were ecstatic when they found out they were expecting their first child 23 years ago. They never wondered about the consequences should their child be deaf or hearing. They just wanted to have a healthy child.
“I just wished to have a happy family, leaving footprints of our intangible love for them and hoped that they would do well in whatever they aimed for. Children are a godsend and a blessing. We were just grateful to have them, whether they were deaf or hearing,” says Yap, 55.
She and her husband were blessed with a healthy baby boy, whom they named Caleb.
Initially, they faced problems trying to breastfeed – Wong’s mum was against it, fearing that Yap’s deafness would be passed to the child through the breast milk. It took time and a lot of explaining before his mum was convinced of the impossibility of it.
At that time, Yap and Wong, 52, were glad to have his mum staying with them. She helped to take care of the baby.
At night, the baby’s cot was placed next to their bed and Yap made sure her hand was over the cot so that she could feel the vibrations should the baby cry.
“To help, my mother-in-law, who is not deaf, slept in the next room,” recalls Yap, who can read lips, speak and sign. If Yap failed to wake up, her mother-in-law would alert them to the baby’s crying.
Yap used the same system for her next two children – son Joshua and daughter Jolie.
“I was happy to discover that they were all hearing. We taught them another language – sign. They would learn to cope with us as deaf parents and indirectly understand the deaf community as well.
“But I was sad knowing that I would never be able to hear their voices, let alone the words ‘I love you’ coming from their lips,” she says.
ParenThots finds out the challenges that the couple faced bringing up their children.
Preparing girls for puberty
As your girl approaches puberty, you’re going to have to shift gears from talking about sex in general to having more specific briefings on the subject of her own sexuality.
Whether you make this a specific discussion or include it as part of a more extensive explanation of what lies ahead during the adolescent years, you will want your daughter to be ready for the imminent physical changes.
Focus on the Family provides some tips on what you should talk about.
Readers write in
This week, four parents write in about how their children learn while having fun and two talk about how their toddlers develop better hand-eye coordination.
If you want to win the Froggy Goes Home wooden toy or a set of five Disney School Skills workbooks, then go to ParenThots and find out how you can win them. The details, and terms and conditions can be found there.