The Grieving/Acceptance Process
By: Robin Fiore


In Luterman and Ross's book When Your Child is Deaf, A Guide for Parents, he included a story written by Emily Perle Kingsley.  I agree with him that this is a story that "parents may find very useful" (Luterman & Ross, 1991, 78-79).  The emotions that one may experience while reading this story, are the reasons for this portfolio.

     "When you are going to have a baby, it is like planning a wonderful
vacation to Italy.  You get a bunch of guidebooks and make all of your plans.  The Coliseum...the Michelangelo David...the gondolas in Venice. You get a book of handy phrases and learn how to say a few words in Italian.  It's all very exciting.  Finally, the time comes for your trip.  You pack your bags and off you go.
     Several hours later, the plane lands.  The stewardess comes in and says: "Welcome to Holland."
     "Holland!?"  you say, "Holland? I signed up for Italy! All of my life I've dreamed of going to Italy!"
     "I'm sorry," she says.  "There's been a change and we've landed in Holland."
     "But I don't know annything about Holland.  I have never thought of going to Holland.  I have no idea what you do in Holland!"
     What's  important is that they haven't taken you to a terrible ugly place, full of famine, pestilence and disease.  It's just ---a different place.  So you have to go out and buy a whole new set of guide books have to learn a whole new language...and you'll meet a whole new bunch of people you would have never met otherwise.
Holland.  It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy...
but after you have been there a while, and you've had a chance to catch
your breath, you look around and begin to discover that Holland has windmills...and Holland has tulips...Holland even has Rembrandts.
     But everyone that you know is busy coming and going from Italy
 ...and they're all braging about the great time that they had there .  And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes that's where I was supposed to go.  That's what I had planned."  And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever, go away.  And you must accept that pain---because the loss of that dreamis a very very significant loss.
     But... if you spend your time mourning the fact that you never got to go to Italy, you may never be able to enjoy the very lovely, very special things about Holland." (Luterman & Ross, 1991, 78-79).

This portfolio is designed to inform teachers and parents about the grieving/acceptance process.  Some families experience parts of this process when their child is newly diagnosed with a hearing loss.  It is typical that this process occurs naturally and often without our awareness.  It is the authorís hope that awareness of the grieving process will support parents through challenging times.  It is also the intent of this project to inform teachers, so that they may enable families.

As to not offend anyone, the author considers it necessary to acknowledge that there are people who never experience any part of the grieving process.  This may include some members of the Deaf Culture who do not view hearing loss as a loss, but rather a part of their culture.  Researchers have found that, "deaf parents of deaf children are effective interventionists for their children," (Carney and Moeller, 1998, S68).  This is due to their knowledge of
sign language, (used consistently); their acceptance of deafness and its effects on children's lives (Carney & Moeller, 1998).


This portfolio is organized in a question and answer format.  The topic was established and questions were formed.  These questions were based on answers that parents and professionals may be seeking.  Therefore, the answers to these questions, with the author's insights, are provided on the following pages.  On these pages you will also find a list of the best resources that, were used in answering the questions.  A bibliography of other known sources may also be found.

Questions (what?):

~1~ What is the grieving/accepting process and how does it effect children/families experiencing the effects of a hearing loss?

~2~ What is the role of the teacher/therapist? How do we facilitate families through the grieving/acceptance process?

~3~ How does the grieving/acceptance process typically effect family relations?

~4~ What insight/advise can parents of special needs children offer each other on the road to acceptance?

~5~ What agencies can parents/professionals contact for information/assistance pertaining to hearing loss/acceptance?

Available at (where?):

Robin Fiore
McAllen ISD-Regional School for the Deaf
Escandon Elementary
2901 Colbath Avenue
McAllen, Texas 78503

Also Included:
* Various materials that the author has found useful in educating families.