I often come across deaf parents of hearing children who worry that their child is “missing out” on “normal hearing kid stuff” (as they usually put it). The concern is that the child may not speak normally, excel in sports, make friends with other hearing children, or excel at anything outside of the deaf culture. Quite the contrary, as the recent American Idol proves.
Nate Tao is an American Sign Language instructor who brought his deaf Dad to auditions with him. It was a blessing to witness the strong relationship between the two caught on camera. It was an even bigger blessing to see that Nate made the cut and was headed to Hollywood. Yes, hearing children who have deaf parents DO succeed in life!
I have four children and all of them at one point or another have been involved in band. My oldest excelled at the trombone and maintained first-chair status for much of his music involvement through middle and high school. My next was considered THE drummer of his class and much to the band director’s dismay, quit in eighth grade in favor of football. The band director pretty much encouraged me with his knack for banging the snare in an attempt to get him to stay. My next child plays flute and ranked 2nd out of 22 at one point “without even trying” (as she claims). My now-nine-year-old just this year joined Drumline, a program for private and homeschooled kids in my area to give them an alternative to sports until they are “sports age” and can play organized school league games. So far, he does very well.
Beyond my kids, I personally know two KODA (kids of deaf adults) who became successful interpreters, one who entered the military, one who became a cop, and one who is entering forensics. There are teachers and professors, lawyers, dentists, doctors, just about any profession accounted for where someone in that field is the product of deaf parents. When I really think about it, it all makes perfect sense. These kids are unique in that they are born into dual cultures. They learn early on to juggle what most kids never deal with in a lifetime. I believe this is what sets them up for success later to a degree.
So congratulations to Nate Tao. I will be watching his progress and rooting for him. I love to see these kinds of stories which bring others in similar shoes hope.
Do you personally know any children of deaf adults who have accomplished something amazing? Share!