From a Retreat to the Deaf Education Classroom

Posted by Judi Pate on 4/23/2021 9:15:00 AM

My mother told me I was the first deaf person she’d ever met, her own daughter. When my deafness was confirmed at age three, my parents were at a complete loss at what to do. My mother remembers how alone she felt during my early years, also living overseas in a country where she was already isolated due to language barriers.

When I became a deaf education teacher, my mother firmly told me, “Don’t forget...when you teach a deaf child, you are working with the child’s family, too.”

It is the single most important advice that I draw upon. A few years into teaching, I gave birth to a child with hearing loss. I learned to appreciate my mother’s journey through her lens. 

Family Weekend Retreat (FWR) is everything that my mother needed when I was a child. It can serve as a resting fork in the road where other paths are adjoined. It is full of opportunities for parents to connect with other parents for support, and for their children to meet other children like them. It also provides connection to professionals and resources. FWR strives to provide research-based, unbiased information through its workshops and training opportunities. Children and their family members can meet deaf adults of different backgrounds. As a deaf adult, I try to be open by sharing my own deaf experiences and perspectives with others. FWR hopes to provide tools for every child and his or her family to be successful as they leave the fork in the road and go on their own paths.

For this year, SOC at TSD is offering Family Week Retreat, a week-long virtual event with in-person Family Fun Days. Professionals and college students can join this year as well. Registration is open until May 31, 2021.