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News-Medical.net – Dr. Sanchari Dutta – Children Of Deaf Adults (CODAs) refer to hearing children born to deaf parents. More than 90% of deaf adults have children who can hear. These children often experience challenges because of being constantly exposed to two culturally, socially, and linguistically distinct communities – Deaf and hearing. Communication is a major challenge for CODAs. Many CODAs grow up learning sign language from their parents, then learn spoken language when exposed to the hearing community later in life. In some cases, however, deaf parents choose to use spoken language instead of signs to communicate with their hearing children. This can lead to restricted parent-child communication and difficulties in learning languages. CODAs often bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing community, acting as interpreters for their families. They also help their parents understand the culture of hearing community. This added responsibility helps them to be mature and independent and maintain a close relationship with their parents. Acting as communicators helps CODAs to socialize with others, feel more responsible, and enjoy learning different languages and cultures. However, interpreting during childhood could be very tiring for CODAs. They may feel traumatized and embarrassed while interpreting their parents’ experiences not appropriate for their age. This can put unwanted burdens and pressure on CODAs, making them emotionally vulnerable. CODAs sometimes prefer not to interpret insensitive comments from hearing people to their parents to protect them from embarrassment. Such situations are very challenging and stressful for CODAs as they feel trapped between two completely opposite worlds. Some CODAs even reject their parents’ deafness later in life. Editor Note: Although CODAs have unique challenges, God has also given them unique opportunities, skills, and languages. More resources: SWM (DM21 – Testimony of a CODA), Amazon (Heart Language by Randy Dignan)

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