Deaf studies

Children of Deaf parents: coda

As all Deaf parents and codas have different backgrounds and experiences, no one is alike. Except, there is some shared experience -- being a child of Deaf parents and/or being a Deaf parent of coda.

As a Deaf child of Deaf parents as well as a Deaf parent of coda, I experience life and strategies around sounds, vibrations, and lights through the world of eye.

What coda life is alike? Stories

Here is a few stories.

-> My five-year-old coda purposefully acted as if she didn't notice me. She heard me making hot water to prepare for a cup of tea. Then she acted like nothing had happened. I purposefully skipped the honey part till she was out of sight. She walked into the family room and sat on the couch next to the kitchen, waiting for the "honey" moment. Once she was out of the kitchen, I suspected she planned that. To test my theory, I took the honey out of the cupboard for my tea. She jumped out of the couch and darted to me. I knew. Even, she seemed to know I waited for her to leave the kitchen. I knew she pretended not to think about the honey and temporarily left the kitchen. We learned our own of sensory senses in different ways.

-> Ever since my coda was born, I had a customized computer (where I operate this website through this computer) which had no sound card in my CPU. Why should I pay for this useless sound graphic that I'd never use, right? She grew up using subtitles when watching videos on this computer and other devices, including her Deaf grandparents' TV. At age eight, she commented that while she heard sound tracks on other devices, she still read captions at the same time.

-> To wake my coda up in the mornings, I typically shook her shoulders. In addition, I turned the lights on and left. If waking her up is tough, I tried some creative ways here and there such as singing awfully with my rusty voicebox. I set up my smartphone with a chirping bells as an alarm for her. One time, I found my unused electronic metorone and turned it on, only to discover it soothed her. Then, I tried it at her bedtime.

-> My little coda and I play hide and seek game. Sometimes, she relied on my breathes to find me, which I let to make it a bit easier for her. As she was older (age 10), I made her wear earplugs. But, she and I sometimes relied on the subtle body language of our cat Kibe for clues, even the way it was staring at.

-> A pilot episode, "My Deaf Family" (2010) produced by Marlee Matlin, tells the story of a Deaf family except for the oldest son and the youngest one, living in Fremont, California. This video below gives you some glimpse of what Deaf family is like. And, a hearing family member's experience in a Deaf family.

Not all hearing children in Deaf families share the same preferences. Kaleb, the oldest child who is hearing in the video (, enjoys growing up in his Deaf family (4th generation Deaf family). Like Deaf children, Kaleb has no desire for change. It was as normal for him as other Deaf family members. In fact, Kaleb wouldn't mind to be deaf.

More to come. Got one? Email me a story.

Related posts

What is life like to be in a Deaf family?

Learn about coda (hearing children of deaf parents/adults).

New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students as well.

Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.

Expressing needs and wants

  1. Making commands or requests

Talking about activities

  1. Frequency of time: how often?

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)

Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.

This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.