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Bianca Birdsey Blog

Many a hearing parent has sat across from a doctor and received the news that their child is deaf. Their minds race as they realize the plans and views of normal they had for their child have been shattered. As they move on through the stages of grief, they come to accept what hearing loss means to their family. After having all three of her daughters diagnosed as deaf in a matter of four months, South African doctor and mom, Bianca Birdsey, understands the struggles, the fears, and also the blessings of raising deaf children.

In her blog, Birdsey candidly shares how she began with the typical hearing-parent thought patterns of “fixing” her children with hearing aids and lip reading. She says that she strove to maintain a hold on her hearing perception of normal in order to continue “preserving my illusion of still being in control of my life and situation.” As she worked through her grief and educated herself, it dawned on her that “hearing aids to ears are not like glasses are to eyes.” In adjusting to their new normal, they not only accepted deafness into their family, but embraced it. They made changes to immerse their daughters in a world of language by adopting a total communication approach, where they use spoken language and sign language. Recently, they have begun to explore cued speech as well. Ample book reading time is also part of their typical routine. The most notable change though, was a move to a new area to allow access to more resources, including a deaf school that the girls attend.



Encouraged by her “mentor and friend,” Birdsey began the blog to reach out to other hearing parents of deaf children and to “encourage other people going through challenges of different kinds to persevere and hold onto hope.” She bids other hearing people to rethink their biases about those who with needs different than theirs. This doctor and mom to Tahlita, Hadassah, and Eden appeals to those serving children with special needs to wholeheartedly assist them, and their families, to the best of their abilities. Furthermore, she also speaks out for the implementation of newborn hearing screenings for earlier detection and for better referral services to other resources.

Having felt lonely from not knowing anyone who could relate to their family’s experiences and struggles with deafness, Birdsey was thrilled to be connected with a South African organization called Hi Hopes Early Intervention Programme. Created to support families with deaf or hard-of-hearing children, High Hopes trains “Parent Advisors” who meet with families every two weeks to educate and support them in their journey through the world of hearing loss. “Deaf Mentors” also act as role models to the families. Birdsey credits Hi Hopes to bringing them to “being in such a positive position.” More information for Hi Hopes can be found at www.hihopes.co.za.

Birdsey’s blog benefits the deaf community by raising awareness of both the struggles and the abilities of the deaf. She wants the world to recognize “the fact that deaf kids have as much potential to reach their dreams as any hearing person.” Bianca Birdsey has traveled through her journey of grief and embraced both her children’s deafness and the “deaf world” into which they’ve be submerged. Her family’s life is filled with joy. She says the quote below best “sums up [her] experience thus far.”

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I needed to be”




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