152MC – Mother Of A Deaf Child
Since writing about my experience having a deaf mother, I then asked my Grandmother to write her story. Here is what she has written about her story,
When you have your first child, you are a beginner. So when Alison was one and two years, she should of been talking. I was not unduly concerned, so when I went to the doctor for advice and he said’’ ‘little Willie up the road did not speak until he was 3’ which in my ignorance did not help.
Eventually after a lot of effort and nagging on my part, I finally got to see a specialist in London who diagnosed Alison with severe deafness. So by being nearly 4 she was given a hearing aid. In the meantime I treated her as normal. In a child’s first year, a hearing baby learns through listening the difference between sound and speech from the people around them, so Alison had a lot of catching up to do.
I realised after a lot of research and experiences that the medical world had no real knowledge or understanding. The first hearing aid that helped the deaf was not introduced until 1947. In fact, my doctor went on a course when she learned about Alison and began to take a real interest. She told me of another deaf child in the area and through that family I learned of a good school in Woodford.
So school life began in the September, before her 4th birthday. She travelled in a taxi every day there and back. A long day! The school never believed in sign language. Some children got frustrated at home but Alison was placid in contrast – well most of the time. It meant a lot of work in school and outside for her to begin to communicate. She picked up lipreading. She mixed with hearing people in Brownies Guides Sunday School. She had a privileged background in that respect. Some deaf children had deaf parents!
We got involved in the National Deaf Childrens Society. I became one of their speakers. We were involved in getting the first classes in Secondary Schools. Sadly to this day schools for the deaf still teach sign language – a setback. However hearing aids have improved. But they only make sounds louder. You try putting a radio up to max, the sound becomes distorted.