Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Population
The deaf/Deaf and Hard-of-hearing (D/HH) population is an incredibly diverse group of people. Deafness can occur to any degree at any age, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, religion, or first language. Some D/HH individuals identify strongly with others who have the shared experience of deafness. Some D/HH individuals prefer to interact with the general hearing population. Still, others may transition back and forth between the Deaf and Hearing worlds.
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Deaf and Hard-of-hearing babies and children
D/HH children are the focus of much intervention as soon as they are identified. Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), they qualify for Part C services from birth to age three, which includes and Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). From age three to 21, they qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to ensure they get the academic support they need. But what about social and emotional support? According to best practices and the legal standards, counseling services can be included in those plans.
Some counseling interventions may be appropriate for infants and babies, while other interventions may focus on the emotional health of the parent(s), caretaker(s), and/or the family as a whole. A combination of individual, couple, and family counseling may support overall health for your deaf baby and your family.
Family members of deaf and hard-of-hearing
D/HH children are not alone in their experience of social and emotional difficulties. Parents, caregivers, siblings, and other family members may experience a significant emotional impact after receiving the news that a child has a different hearing status. Questions about communication options and quality of life may consume a family's attention. I believe support for parents, siblings, and families is crucial for the support of the D/HH child.
deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
D/HH individuals grow up with a unique experience. It can be difficult to find a therapist who has accessible language skills, who is knowledgeable about the D/HH experience, and exposed to Deaf culture. Finding a counselor that does not require an interpreter (or a detailed explanation about what it is like to be D/HH) is well worth it.
I provide sessions in spoken English and American Sign Language. I am a flexible communicator and can adapt to other sign systems. However you communicate, it is crucial that we can understand each other.