OUR Reality

Our family fosters children.  I received a phone call from our foster care consultant and as I listened, my heart broke.  They needed a home for a little boy who had been severely abused.  My thoughts instantly drifted to one of the first families I called as a GBYS Parent Guide.  A similar story that led to a little girl who had lost both her hearing and vision due to the abuse she endured.  A foster mom, new to our world of hearing loss but living the harsh realities of a topic many of us often choose to ignore: Abuse and Neglect.

Hands & Voices has partnered with Harold Johnson, a researcher formerly at Michigan State University, to better understand the scope of abuse and neglect as it relates to our D/HH kids.

*Abuse and neglect is experienced by 09% of children without disabilities vs. 31% of children with disabilities (Sullivan & Knutson, 2000).

*Available research indicates that 10% of hearing boys and 25% of hearing girls experience sexual abuse vs. 54% of boys who are D/HH and 50% of girls who are D/HH report sexual abuse (Sullivan, Vernon, Scanlan, John, 1987).

I was most affected by one reason why our kids are at higher risk:

*Parental and professional lack of awareness of the increased risk and the subsequent lack of education for children regarding sexuality, personal safety and their right to say “No!” (Shelton, Bridenbaugh, Farrenkopf, & Kroeger, 2008; Sullivan, Vernon & Scanlon, 1987)

We will be taking time over the next few months to share with you OUR reality as parents of D/HH children concerning abuse and neglect and ways we hope will help shine a light on a hard and often neglected topic.