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My experience of being a grandparent to a deaf child

Published Date: 21 Jan 2021

Young boy standing in a classroom doing BSL signs

When our grandson Oliver, now six, had just been diagnosed with a hearing loss, it came as quite a shock for my daughter Jess and her husband Dan. Oliver only lost his hearing at three-years-old after developing mumps, even though he had been vaccinated.

To support Jess and Dan I decided to have a look online to see what support we could give Oliver and the family and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) website came up.

It was so easy to navigate, there was lots of information on the website but it was described in small chunks which made it easier to understand. I’m not very computer literate, but even I found my way around the website!!

This allowed me to do the research and find information and advice for Jess and Dan while they concentrated on what Oliver needed. I found out lots of useful advice about going to see the audiologist, talking to the Teacher of the Deaf and financial support. The website had a brilliant helpline which we were able to call anytime if we needed more information, and we did!

One of the first things we did as members of NDCS was to attend one of their ‘newly diagnosed’ events. They’re still doing them online at the moment, which is great. I went with my daughter, while Dan stayed at home with the children. It was great to talk to other parents who were also going through the same and to talk to the experts. The interesting thing was I found weren’t any grandparents there, only parents.

The second event we went to was on financial help – this was all about applying for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and mobility allowance. I don’t class Oliver as having a disability, he’s Oliver, our little happy, smiling chappy who loves to sing (all the time) but is deaf. However, if financial help is available for the extra things you need to pay for, such as hospital parking charges and computer equipment at home then why not apply.

It’s easy for grandparents to get involved to be able to support their grandchild and family. My husband even did a sign language course and has been teaching Oliver the basics although Oliver likes to make his own signs up… which funnily enough we can understand!!


Maria is nanny to Oliver (8), who became deaf when he was three and wears hearing aids, and Thea (6) and Lara (3).