Monday, 6 March 2017

Growing up with Deaf parents..

Evie Mahoney's book details her experience growing up the child of deaf parents and hopes it will help people understand ...
I think the saddest part of issues for CODA's is they have to support their parents, it should be the other way around, my only claim to fame, is I have never used my child as a support worker at any stage, so it can be done.  Let CODA's have a childhood.

Being raised a child of deaf adults has inspired a south Auckland woman to publish her experience in a book.  Evie Mahoney has penned What Does the Sea Sound Like about her deaf parents and growing up as a hearing child.  Named for her father's love of the sea and him asking her about what it sounds like, Mahoney hopes her book will help raise awareness of deaf culture.  "Being deaf is not just like having the sound turned off. It's much more complex," Mahoney says.

"It's like my parents have been born into a country that speaks a foreign language."  Mahoney is the eldest of six hearing children and they communicated with their parents through lip reading and their own form of sign language.  Her parents were both born profoundly deaf. Her father was the only deaf child in his family and her mother's parents and all but three of her siblings were deaf.

They met at a deaf club picnic and married not long afterwards, Mahoney says, and she and her siblings grew up in both deaf and hearing cultures, acting as their parents' interpreters.  "Although my parents were intelligent and sociable and hardworking they were patronised, our whole family was," she says.  "People would think because our parents are deaf there must be something wrong with them and the children probably have something wrong with them as well."

It took her three years to write What Does The Sea Sound Like, her first published book, and she has since written a children's book which is yet to be published.  She says there are very few reading resources on deaf families and has found most people who've read her book have learnt a lot about it.  "Since I was young I've wanted to tell my parents' story . . . I've always liked writing, I find it easier than talking.

"I loved writing it, I really enjoyed it. It was a wonderful feeling and and I don't think I ever felt it was really difficult, I just decided to write from the heart."  According to the National Foundation for the Deaf, about 880,350 people in New Zealand have hearing loss.

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