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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Being a Deaf-Bling Mother - Guest Blogger 01

It's a subject that is dear to my heart. Life as a mother who is
deaf-blind.... It's never easy. There's always some challenge
or doubt to overcome. But in the end, it's always rewarding.
It's our little ones who make it that way.

This is another blog by my friend, Holly Alonzo. While reading
her story, I had to remind myself that I wasn't the one who
wrote this. We have a similar outlook on life. Our boys are
both very bright, creative children. Angels one minute, and
rascals the next.

Read more to see how Holly handles being a deaf-blind mother.

When I found out I was finally pregnant, I was so happy. The day
my son was born was one of the happiest days of my life.

I was only blind, and could do anything! Nothing could stand in
my way.

Until the doctors at the University of Arkansas' Medical Science
told me what was coming.

The tumor on my hearing nerve had grown a lot and needed to come
out, leaving me completely deaf as well as already completely

My son was two weeks old, I did not know what I would do. I knew
nothing of how to do anything without my hearing. Let alone take
care of a baby.

I managed the best I could. I had to ask others how to do it. But
asking around I quickly discovered that deaf-blind can mean from
low vision and hard of hearing, to deaf and low vision, to me, to
someone who is completely deaf and blind, which is where I knew
I'd eventually be. There are not many deaf-blind parents who are
completely blind.

There is one lady that is completely DB and she told me a few
things she did. But really I had no help with this. It was up to
me and Isaiah to figure this out and prove to everyone that a
deaf-blind person could be just as good of a parent as others.

I started to sign the few words that I did know when I would
speak to him when he was around 4 months old. I would just simple
sign "milk", "nap", "mommy", etc. I just needed him to learn
short words to sort of give me an idea.

I could still hear fairly well whenever Isaiah started speaking
his first words. If I didn't know what he was trying to tell me,
I would ask another hearing person around me such as Edward or my

When Isaiah was 9 months old, we moved to North Carolina. Edward
had gotten a job. I would be alone with Isaiah all day every day.
This was not a problem because I am a confident parent.

My hearing began to get worse as the weeks passed. My balance got
worse as well. It was hard for me to walk around and play with
him, so I would get in the floor and crawl around instead. He
naturally stayed close to me so that we could play.

After always signing short words while speaking to him, he picked
up on those signs very quickly. When my hearing began to get
worse, he used them a lot to make his point known.

Instead of saying, " I want milk." He would sign, "milk" Then I
would ask him if he wanted milk. He would sign, "yes" His sign is
not in complete sentences, but that is ok. At least I knew what
he was saying.

When he doesn't know the sign for something, he will get his
point a crossed to me in some way. He will act it out, bring it
to me, or drag me to the room it is in and have me pick him up so
he can reach it.

Kids adapt so easily, and Isaiah doesn't think of me as
deaf-blind. He just knows that I am the one who takes care of
him, it may be different than other mommy's but he doesn't know
that. All he knows is that I'm his mommy, and we love each other

There are no instruction manuals to being a deaf-blind parent.
Many would assume tat we can't do it, but I am here to show we
can. Isaiah and I made things up as we went along. We didn't know
what would work for us, but with trial and error we found things
that did. Whenever we found something that worked for
communication or otherwise, we stuck with it.

Now we are back in Arkansas near my parents. Isaiah enjoys
spending time with them, and it is good for him. He has worked it
out in his head that I am the only one he needs to sign to. He
does it naturally. He will talk to others, and does not do the
things he does with me. Isaiah has gotten very smart because of
this. I believe that this has opened another area of his mind,
already. He gets the experience of a deaf-blind person from me,
blind from Edward, and hearing-sighted from my parents and
others. He can adapt to anything!

He is very bright, and because of this brightness things might be
a little more difficult for me. His mind wants to do things that
his hands and body can't and causes frustration. I want to
encourage him to learn, but yet I want him to be safe or do
things the right way.

This journey of parenthood is not over. It has only begun. Isaiah
and I have several years to work out anything and find things
that work. Being a deaf-blind mother is more difficult, but it
can still be done. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Holly Alonzo <

Holly book cover thumbnail
nail.jpg> Never Giving Up Hope

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