Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Parent to Parent: Families with deaf children
Raising a family can be stressful enough, but when one child has a disability, the strain on everyone can be tremendous. In today's Parent to Parent, see how a local organization is helping families of deaf children -- plus 7's parenting expert Dr. Valerie's advice on easing stress in the home.
WSVN -- Jessica Carlo knew there was something wrong when her daughter Arianis was just two weeks old and wasn't responding to the family's barking dog.
Jessica Carlo: "I kind of knew. When he barked my two kids would jump out of bed or the crib, and I started noticing that Arianis wasn't reacting at all."
Soon after, the little girl was diagnosed as profoundly deaf.
The news was not only devastating but communicating was extremely difficult.
Jessica Carlo: "Basically she would point at things, and it was frustrating for her and for me because I wasn't able to understand her."
That was until Jessica learned about the Alliance for Families with Deaf Children, a non-profit organization started right here in South Florida.
Executive director Jennifer Jones, a deaf educator, saw a need after so many frustrated parents voiced their concerns.
Jennifer Jones: "Our kids are coming home. They're signing to us. They have homework. We're not able to help them with their homework. We're not able to read to them at night."
The program brings a deaf mentor into the home once a week to work one-on-one with the child on language and literacy skills and to teach the entire family sign language.
Seven's parenting Expert Dr. Valerie Goode says the entire family is affected when coping with a child with a disability.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "Then there's also the therapies that you have to take the child to, so there's always a time crunch in a family with a child who has a disability."
That's why it's so important to set aside special time with other siblings who may feel neglected.
Make sure the family as a whole takes a much-needed break from time to time and create a strong support network.
Dr. Valerie: "Being with other families who also experience what you do is great. It's one of the best ways because this way you can trade ideas."
To keep stress in the home under control, Dr. Valerie recommends sticking to a daily routine and make sure family members don't put too much focus on the disability.
Dr. Valerie: "So it's important to just sort of go with it -- not make it special -- just make it a part of living."
That's what Jessica and her family strive to do every day.
And thanks to Jennifer's organization, Arianis and other children with hearing loss can look forward to a brighter future.
Jennifer Jones: "That's the beauty of the program. We enable families to be their child's first teacher, which is really how it should be."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Alliance for Families with Deaf Children
1350 East Sunrise Boulevard, Suite #105
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Office: (954) 370-1145
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALLERIE CAN HELP WITH, E-MAIL US AT: