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Using the hearing child as an interpreter for his/her parents may also violate the Deaf parent's right to privacy and cause biased communication (Luey, Glass, & Elliott, 1995; Preston, 1994).
It is possible that Deaf parents may use sign language with each other, but a mixed mode of communication (signing, speech, or both) with their children (Clark, 2003; Singleton & Tittle, 2000).
If the role of parent is clear and the interpretation is kept to appropriate contexts, the added responsibility can add to the children’s maturity and independence (Preston, 1994; Lane et al., 1996), as well as to the development of a close relationship with their parents (Filer & Filer, 2000).
Nevertheless, research evidence shows that Deaf parents are generally competent, loving, and caring (Clark, 2003; Mallory, Schein, & Zingle, 1992; Preston, 1994; Schein, 1989) and determined to raise their children in the best way they know (due to the limitations pointed out above; Singleton & Tittle, 2000).Both deaf parents may not know the sign language; they may be oral and they may not consider themselves as part of Deaf culture (Children of Deaf Adults [CODA] International, 2005).However, given that the most prevalent type is that of Deaf signing parents, it is likely that most of the hearing children will grow up at homes with signing Deaf parents (Preston, 1994).Current studies also suggest that there is no difference in family interactions between families with Deaf parents and hearing children and families with hearing parents and hearing children (Mattock & Crist, 1989; Jones & Dumas, 1996).
It is worth stressing that the formation of the CODA organization (Filer & Filer, 2000) and the fact that 60% of the hearing children of Deaf adults work in some manner with the Deaf/deaf adults/children (e.g., interpreter, teacher of deaf children; Preston, 1994) indicate that many hearing children of Deaf adults feel a lifelong connection with the Deaf community.Preston (1994) emphasizes that “as adults, hearing children of deaf parents have largely been passed over by researchers”(p. Although a considerable number of studies mainly focus on Deaf parents’ interactions and communication with their hearing children, having involved school-age hearing children of Deaf parents (Buchino, 1993; Gosselin, 1994; Mattock & Crist, 1989; Rienzi, 1990), few studies have focused on the experiences of adult hearing with Deaf parents.