Child of deaf adult

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A child of a deaf adult, often known by the acronym "CODA", is a person who was raised by one or more deaf parents or guardians. Millie Brother coined the term and founded the organization CODA,[1] which serves as a resource and a center of community for children of deaf adults. Many CODAs are bilingual, learning both a spoken and a signed language, and bicultural, identifying with both deaf and hearing cultures. CODAs must navigate the border between the deaf and hearing worlds, serving as a liaison between their deaf parents and the hearing world in which they reside.[2] Ninety percent of children born to deaf adults can hear normally,[3] leading to the occurrence of a significant and widespread community of CODAs around the world. The acronym KODA (Kid of Deaf Adult) is sometimes used to refer to CODAs under the age of 18.

CODA communicating with parents using video technology

Potential challenges facing hearing CODAs[edit]

Hearing CODAs must learn to balance the Deaf culture in which they were raised and the hearing culture that inundates the world outside their household. Some face difficulty reconciling the social and cultural norms of the hearing community and the differing norms of their deaf community. CODAs often act as a communication link between their parents and society, trying to bridge the cultural and linguistic gap between their deaf family and the predominately hearing society. Due to misconceptions about deafness in the hearing world and biases against hearing people in the deaf community, many CODAs struggle in their role as a mediator between the two groups. An example of similar cultural identity issues can be found with children of immigrant families who do not speak English,[4] in a phenomenon known as Third Culture Kid.

More than sixty percent of American CODAs are exposed to sign language and often become fluent in ASL,[5] using this language as a means of communication with their parents. As children, more CODAs are fluent in sign language than the majority of the deaf world.[6] In addition, many CODAs receive enough exposure to spoken language models to become fluent in spoken languages through neighbors, classmates, television, and extended family members who want to ensure the CODA offspring will learn to talk.[7] The children that are proficient in both sign language and spoken language are frequently expected to serve as interpreters between their deaf parents and the hearing community from a young age.[8] These children must deal with situations that may be considered inappropriate, either because of the subject matter or their age, placing them in a confusing and vulnerable position.[9] Hearing adults treat the CODA like the adult and the deaf parent like the child in many situations,[10] forcing CODAs to grow up more quickly than other children.

There is pressure on the hearing child of a deaf adult to protect their parent from things the parent cannot hear. Whether it be ignorant or insensitive comments made by passersby, or things such as alarming noises around the house (fire alarm, burglars, etc.). These pressures result in the child feeling as if it is their responsibility to take care of their parent which can lead to a distorted perception of family roles in the future. [11]

Typically, CODAs attend hearing schools and interact frequently with the hearing world.[12] These families must bridge the divide between the hearing and deaf worlds, thus facing unique communication and parenting challenges.[13] Despite the fact that CODAs grow up surrounded by deaf culture, they lack the audiological deafness that is an integral criteria to achieve complete acceptance into the deaf community.[14] Having been raised in a Deaf household, however, they never feel fully integrated into the hearing community either. CODAs often feel lost between the two worlds, unsure of their identity in either group. Due to the dichotomy between the culture in their deaf home and the hearing culture that dominates society, many CODAs struggle to establish their identities and feel that they don't fully fit in with either the deaf or hearing community.[15]

Support organizations[edit]

Millie Brother established the organization CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) in 1983 as a non-profit organization for the hearing sons and daughters of deaf parents.[16] CODA’s first annual conference took place in 1986 in Fremont, California.[17] The conferences have grown, taking on an international status with attendees hailing from around the world. CODA aims to raise awareness about the unique experiences and issues of growing up between these two cultures and provide a forum for CODAs to discuss these shared problems and experiences with other CODAs.[18] Regardless of the spoken and sign languages used, CODA believes that these feelings and experiences that derive from the binary relationship of the two divergent cultures are universal amongst CODAs. CODA provides educational opportunities, promotes self-help, organizes advocacy efforts, and serves as a resource for CODAs raised in both signing and nonsigning environments . Since its founding, CODA, which is currently based in Santa Barbara, CA, has attracted between five to six hundred members and has five chapters around the country.[19]

There are support groups for Deaf parents who may be concerned about raising their hearing children, as well as support groups for adult CODAs. There are also several camps established for KODAs.

  • Camp Mark Seven, which was established as the first KODA camp in 1998. Currently, they have two two-week programs for campers from 9 to 16 years old.
  • Camp Grizzly,[20] which hosts a 1-week program for preteen and teen CODAs
  • KODAWest, which is a week long camp in Southern California held annually in the summer for campers from ages eight to fifteen, Counselors-in-training (CIT) from ages sixteen to seventeen, and Counselors from ages eighteen and up.

There is a UK organisation, namely CODA UK & Ireland.

Interpreting opportunities available to CODAs[edit]

While being a CODA does not necessarily mean the person is fluent in both English and Sign Language, over sixty percent of American CODAs are taught ASL as a first language and become fluent.[21] Because of this many CODAs have the opportunity to become interpreters. They are already equipped with the skills and experience necessary. CODAs also tend to understand the importance of being able to interpret accurately and recognize the potential severity of inaccurate interpretation. CODAs that have been raised dually in both the hearing and deaf cultures have the experience of understanding the cultural habits of both cultures and can be sensitive to those. The qualifier that makes CODAs so unique and talented in the interpreting field is that CODAs have been "parented" by a Deaf adult. It is very difficult for a hearing (non-deaf) person to be accepted into the deaf culture. Therefore CODAs have an advantage of being hearing but being accepted into the deaf community because of their parents. A substantial and intentional relationship is forged amidst the two cultures which is an experience unique to CODAs.[22]

Notable CODAs[edit]

Fictional CODAs[edit]

Related deaf culture acronyms[edit]

The following acronyms has being introduced to mock people with deaf relatives.

  • OHCODA - Only Hearing Child of Deaf Adults (deaf parents and deaf siblings)
  • OCODA - Only Child of Deaf Adult(s) (no siblings)
  • KODA - Kid of Deaf Adult(s)
  • SODA - Spouse or Sibling of a Deaf Adult(s)
  • SOCODA - Spouse of CODA
  • GODA - Grandchild of Deaf Adult(s)
  • GGODA - Great Grandchild of Deaf Adult(s)
  • GUDA - Grand Uncle of Deaf Adult(s)

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 207.
  2. ^ Kerri Clark, Communication & Parenting Issues in Families with Deaf Parents and Hearing Children, http://lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/coda.htm, (April 2003)
  3. ^ Glenn Collins, The Family; Children of Deaf Share Their Lives, http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/15/style/the-family-children-of-deaf-share-their-lives.html, (December 1986).
  4. ^ Glenn Collins, The Family; Children of Deaf Share Their Lives, http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/15/style/the-family-children-of-deaf-share-their-lives.html, (December 1986).
  5. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 190.
  6. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 195.
  7. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 195.
  8. ^ Patrick Oberholtzer, Hearing Children of Deaf Parents, http://www.gallaudet.edu/library/research_help/research_help/research_guides_(pathfinders)/pathfinder_hearing_children_of_deaf_parents.html, (October 1995).
  9. ^ Kerri Clark, Communication & Parenting Issues in Families with Deaf Parents and Hearing Children, http://lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/coda.htm, (April 2003)
  10. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 204.
  11. ^ Kerri Clark, Communication & Parenting Issues in Families with Deaf Parents and Hearing Children, http://lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/coda.htm, (April 2003)
  12. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 195.
  13. ^ Kerri Clark, Communication & Parenting Issues in Families with Deaf Parents and Hearing Children, http://lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/coda.htm, (April 2003)
  14. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 193.
  15. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 201.
  16. ^ About CODA, http://coda-international.org/blog/about/ (2012).
  17. ^ CODA events
  18. ^ About CODA, http://coda-international.org/blog/about/ (2012).
  19. ^ Glenn Collins, The Family; Children of Deaf Share Their Lives, http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/15/style/the-family-children-of-deaf-share-their-lives.html, (December 1986).
  20. ^ NorCal | Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Inc
  21. ^ Robert Hoffmeister, Open Your Eyes: Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 190.
  22. ^ The cost of invisibility codas and the sign language interpreting profession
  23. ^ Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage–A Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, p. 413 (PDF)
  24. ^ Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage–A Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, p. 414 (PDF)
A Loss for Wordshttp://www.amazon.com/Loss-Words-Story-Deafness-Family/dp/0060914254

External links[edit]