Re: How to Help Family with Deaf Infant
DS1 is deaf. Your BIL & SIL are probably grieving, and tell them that's okay. I was an emotional wreck when we found out DS1 was deaf at 4 months, and let myself be that way for about a week...then I decided it was time to look forward.
We knew early on that DS was a Cochlear Implant candidate (his cochleas were well formed, no damage on his hearing nerve - all confirmed with an MRI at 6 months), so we DID NOT teach sign. Our implant center (UNC) made it very clear that they prefer children who are deaf/HOH and learning to hear that they should be made to HAVE to rely on this "foreign" sense until they own it...it's actually much easier for a deaf/HOH child to rely on manual language (sign) than to use sound and form words - we see this now with some of the children in DS's class who are behind where they should be.
Also be sure that they ask a LOT of questions - about resources, options, therapies, devices, etc., even if those options are not "conveniently located." Example - we were NEVER told about oral-deaf schools (even though there is one ADJACENT to our implant center, which was 3.5 hours from our home). I had to do my own research, and stumbled upon where they are, and how they work. We moved our family from NC to PA a little over 18 months ago so that we could send our 4.5 year old to Clarke School - he has made TREMENDOUS progress in just 1.5 years, and will be ready to mainstream next year, with little or no additional help.
There is also a yahoo support group if they want to learn more about implants (cicircle).
Good luck to them! They'll have lots of decisions ahead of them, and none of them will be wrong.
Oh, and remind them that they DO have a say so in their caregivers...if they don't like their audiologist, go to another one. If they don't like their ST, ask for another one...
Mama to a beautiful deaf son (bilateral cochlear implants - my baby can hear!!) born 6/13/08 and a hearing son born 1/7/10, who are intact,
DC3 coming in July