Who Should Know About Coda/Koda?

It’s important to point out that everyone should know about Coda. I’ll explain.

Codas that are adults can obviously figure out that as a child of Deaf parents living in a hearing world, their life is a bit different. But I feel that each person has to have a chance to absorb it, process it and make a determination as to whether this is a characteristic of thier life. From this, they may choose to embrace it, pitch it or just acknowledge it. I just ask to share it with others because not every Coda gets a chance to slow down and say… AHA!

Deaf people and parents also need to realize that Coda/Koda is a separate culture. I will never tell anyone how to parent. But the one thing I want to share is; a hearing child born to Deaf parents is not “normal”, or the same as the rest of the hearing world. Most Deaf people have hearing parents, being raised in a hearing household. When a Deaf person has a hearing child, that child also has a life that is different from a hearing household, because they are now being raised in a Deaf household. There is more fluid communication when a Deaf person signs to their children. Most Deaf parents did not have direct communication with their parents.  So a Coda/Koda knows deafness first, then has to deal with putting the pieces together when faced with the hearing world.

One Deaf mother approached me and said my daughter is always on the phone. When I ask her “what, phone, going on”? she says nothing. Is she rebelling against my deafness?  I smiled, and said, she might be rebelling, but it’s not because you are Deaf. It is because she is a teenager. Hearing mothers get the same response.

Lastly, hearing people should also be aware of coda/koda needs. We learn differently in schools, we are visual. We have been introduced to a language that is differnt than English. Also  sharing with hearing people that Kodas are not the translator. Do not put a Deaf parent in a situation that makes this possible. It’s shocking to me how many older and “wiser” people in my life didn’t get that! They may not have had interpreters, but figure something else out than making a child deliver these kinds of messages. 

Please share Coda with all. I look forward to your responses.


  1. *WOW* *WOW* *WOW*…

    I’m so intrigued! I’ll listen with open eyes and heart… your contribution will be greatly appreciated among Deaf parents of hearing children, teenagers and adults out there…

    I am even more interested to hear about learning differences in koda/coda since they are visually orientated, and bilingual too.

    I’m so glad you jumped into the bandwagon, and you really made a tremendous difference for future kodas/codas by your generous contribution!

    Amy Cohen Efron

  2. codadiva

    I am so thrilled. I am so glad for the support. I’ve been educating the hearing about Deaf people my entire life. Thank you for your warm encouragement. It is taken straight to the heart.

  3. I think your vlog is wonderful! sometimes I wonder how coda feel and to have them share their views on both worlds is like bridging the gap between deaf and hearing. keep vlogging!!! (and other codas, please share your insights too – some deaf parents will appreciate the info and other codas too).

  4. IamMine


    I’m glad to see this dialog coming from you, a CODA!

    I never thought it had anything to do with me being deaf when my son shrugs me off or my daughter rambling on the phone for hours, only to give me the infamous “nothing” responses!

    I was like them at that age, too.

    “A great parent is one who remembers what it’s like to be a child.” – unknown author

    I NEVER use my children as interpreters!! I’ve made it clear to the school that made that mistake several times.

    When I got home and explained to them via email, they apologized and understood.

    We live in the technology world that enables us to use other resources to communicate with other than our children.

    I still get those “tell your mom…” in front of me and I always interrupt and say, “You can tell me by writing it down.”.

    Sometimes I get the “never mind”. 😀 😉 Then it wasn’t that important, eh?

    I look forward to more of your CODA experiences – good and bad. I always look for them so I can learn what I should or shouldn’t do as a parent! 😀

  5. Bug

    Very well said. Thanks for sharing. Have a question for you …. What is the best current estimate of the total CODA/KODA popluation in the U.S. (and world)?

  6. codadiva

    Awesome question! I too have been trying to get numbers on this. Imagine, for every Deaf couple, they have an estimate of 2.5 (national average for families) children. Now take into consideration that not every Deaf person is married to another Deaf person. It’s hard to track but I would believe it easily doubles the amount of Deaf people. And don’t forget about those families that have 6 (or more) Codas in one family. WOW.

    When you say world, it makes me think of the CODA conference being held in Barcelona in a couple of weeks, sigh! I wish I could have gone, to meet others CODAs from Kosovo, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Australia and a few other countries. Next time, I will not miss it.

  7. Bug

    Interesting. Thanks for your time. Keep up.

  8. I’m glad you brought this up. I’ve always felt that CODAs/KODAs are somewhat neglected in terms of how much we (society) study them. Hearing people are being studied all the time as well as Deaf people – there are tons of research on them both but I don’t see much on C/KODAs.

    I’ve always have been aware of the fact that C/KODAs form an unique community/culture. We should be talking about them more especially that most Deaf parents are likely to have hearing children than deaf children.

    Also, personally, some of my favorite people are CODAs themselves. I think it’s because while we both have different experiences, I feel we can understand each other being from families unlike ourselves (hearing parents for me, deaf for them). They can communicate with their parents and I can with my parents who thankfully can sign. In a way my CODA friends have more of the “Deaf Experience” growing up while I have had more of the “Hearing Experience” but I’m Deaf and they’re hearing, at least physically.

    Looking forward to what comes out of this dialogue!

  9. codadiva

    Absolutely! I agree, Coda issues are not being talked about. Also, it’s funny, my husband and I agree, I am more Deaf than he is. I have a bit of a louder, brash, attitude. In fact when I first met him, I thought he was some hearing guy staring at our group of singers. It’s a good thing I didn’t sign something negative.

    To all, thanks for all the support.

  10. Hey Codadiva, that’s hysterical when I read your response to Barinthus’s comment. You thought your husband was a hearing man staring at your group. Priceless! Really great vlog, too. It was educational and thought-provoking.

    About the number of CODAs in the US, I’m curious to the number of CODAs that are involved with the deaf community on a daily basis because I know there are some CODAs who shun away from the deaf culture 😦

    I had a CODA interpreter in high school. She was great. She helped me get through the tough times where I was misunderstood and “different” from them.

    CODAs ROCK! I love you all CODAs!!

  11. Kim

    My mom was CODA. She also worked at the Deaf school for 30 yrs as a Dorm parent. Raising me as her Deaf daugther and my brother (hearing), she really was fortunate having Deaf parents. It obviously expanded her world knowledge & views of the life in both worlds. I was also forunate having her as my mom because she spent time talking to me about the real life out there (hearing and Deaf). I appreciate my 40 years with her. I wish she could view your Vlogs and the Olson brothers’ Vlogs. Thank you very much for doing this!

  12. codadiva

    If only you could know how your words touch my heart. I appreciate my knowledge of being a more sensitive person by knowing two worlds. Thank you for the support. If only one vlog could reach out, then I have met my goal.

    Thank you for sharing something special as your story.

  13. I’m glad you brought up that KODA kids are visual. This is true of my son. he is a visual and kinesthetic learner. I believe this is a result of using signs and facial expressions with him since his birth.

    When he was in pre-school, we had a regular parent/teacher conference where we learned our son’s strengths were through visual and tactile learning. At the same time, we found an opportunity to educate the teachers about a KODA family dynamic that they had wondered about.

    Apparently, our son would tap the teacher, or call out her name over and over until she looked at him, even if she answered him. If she wasn’t looking at him, he kept saying her name or tapping, even though she was listening. It drove her bonkers!

    We explained how eye contact in our home was essential and that conversation did not begin or continue of eye contact was not given or broken. So by educating the teachers to give our son eye contact instead of just a verbal response while looking away, he would feel engaged and ready to communicate.

    They began to practice it and things went much smoother for all.

    Thanks for sharing your tips. Keep them coming.

    ~ LaRonda

  14. codadiva

    Thank you for sharing. Yes, it’s fascinating how we learn as children. This is exactly why hearing people that have an influence on our children need to know about these things. Your story was wonderful. I think teachers need to have this knowledge at least in a file for when they encounter a Coda as a student.

    Great point!

  15. Jessica

    I have two KODAs and my son will start 2nd grade this fall. In kindergarten one of his homework assignments was to give me a summary of a story his teacher read to his class and I would write down his words and his thoughts about the story and send back to his teacher. It sometimes was challenging because there were some new words that he haven’t learned the signs for yet and I had to figure out what he was trying to say. I asked his teacher if I could borrow the books so I could read the story to get an idea and know what words to expect from him. Then in 1st grade books were sent home with him and he read them to me and then I sign off and he brought them back. Again he would learn signs for new words.

    I explained to his teachers that my son switches between two languages at home and school and he is still learning to read English and then translate into ASL for me. His teachers so far have been understanding.

    Wonder if any had experiences with this type of situation and how they handled it? Would like some ideas since school will be starting again soon.

  16. codadiva

    Good point. I’d be interested in a response too. Thanks for bringing it up.

  17. Colleen

    So many wonderful posts regarding the experiences as a Coda/Koda. Each post brought a thought to my mind and related to an event that happened in my childhood. I have never been to a Coda Conference, due to the location of where I am at, although I have always wanted to go.
    However I am fortunate in that I have maintained close friendships with my Coda buddies from childhood and there is a fairly large groups of us around in our city. For those that have moved away to other parts of the country, we have still kept in touch.
    I often wonder if other Codas felt closer to the Codas from their childhood than their own cousins or extended family members (who are not Codas or whom never took the time to learn the langauge).
    I find that I struggle with establishing my role with my extended family and I do not have what I consider an indepth relationship with them. I am far more comfortable acting as the interpreter in the family gatherings than I am making small talk with them… despite the constant encouragement from the folks for me to NOT be the interpreter. But my relationship with my extended relatives although pleasant is a superficial relationship.
    When I get together with the Coda buddies -to me they are my extended family. Perhaps it is the like experiences that bond us… or life long memories we share…. or both.
    Anyway those are some thoughts that I wanted to share.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: