Doctors to parents: ‘I’m sorry; your baby is deaf’

A doctor usually makes the first comments to parents about the condition of their newborn baby’s condition.

The way a doctor shares any concerns that he/she has can have a big effect on how the parents perceive their new baby.

When the newborn is deaf, the doctor often tells the family, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but your baby is deaf.”

Such a comment can create a negative image of the baby in the parents’ minds. It conveys the message that the baby is defective. It may precipitate feelings of hopelessness and fear. Sometimes the couple blames each other for the child’s deafness. At times, this may create such a division between the parents that it may endanger their marriage.

While most medical professionals understand the physiological and medical aspects of hearing loss, few comprehend how wonderful life can be for deaf people. There are many successful and accomplished deaf adults, deaf parents loving and raising deaf and hard-of-hearing children, deaf professionals in all lines of work including doctors, lawyers, business owners, teachers, professors, nurses, etc. A parent with a deaf baby can still hope and dream of their child having a life full of friendships, marriage, parenthood, and employment, a hopeful future. While medical professionals generally view deaf babies as abnormal, deaf communities see them as a cause for rejoicing, not condolences.

It’s hard to put an end to old stereotypes. So the unfortunate message parents and their deaf children often receive is that deaf people are limited, disabled, dumb, and cannot, cannot, cannot...

Deaf have repeatedly proven the stereotype to be false. In truth, deaf children CAN, CAN, CAN. There are no limitations. I mentioned in my previous article that I used to enjoy the great philosopher Aristotle’s statements, until he stated that “all deaf people are feeble-minded and unable to reason.”

Now I realize that this quote really applies to Aristotle and not to deaf people. As a matter of fact, deaf children are not limited in their vocation. They have unlimited potential.

Next article, we will learn of the many, many opportunities available for deaf people.

Of the Deaf People, By the Deaf people, For the Deaf people

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