Frequently asked questions. I’ve talked to many Codas, we all got the same questions.

It’s amazing that society, young and old still doesn’t have an awareness to Deafness.Β  The video is 5 minutes and to type it all out was going to be too time consuming. So I took my first shot at narrating. I knew there is some stumbles, but hey, I’m getting lazy.



  1. Oh my! Hearies are funny… *duck* I meant the hearies who dunno about deafies :D.

  2. michele

    Yes, I am a Deaf mom with two hearing children, the most irritating question that my son faces on a daily basis is that children usually ask him, “Are your parents death?”, it just drives him crazy. I think it also makes him feel awkward knowing that this question is a very heavy loaded one, imagine if someone asked you that kind of question, it is like a doomsday question to ask in a young child, people do not realize how that makes a coda person feel.

    People need to be more sensitive and try to pronounce the “F” properly!!!!! We oralists have been taught for many many years how to pronounce “F” right and then hearing people cannot even pronounce it right! Duh!!

    Thanks and keep more stories coming on the way!

  3. Thanks for the chuckles…reminded me of some experiences I had, like my mother saying “I’m SORRY!” when I told her one of our new twins was diagnosed deaf. Mom? You did okay by me, what is the problem? (And about the ignorance of professionals: a doctor in the hallway admired the 1-year-old twins in their stroller and asked, “are they identical?” Hello? Boy and girl, doctor?)
    We need a place to store all these stories of “aren’t people stupid?” for our occasional comic relief.

  4. Karla

    wow interesting story I am bit of confuse about one thing Your husband deaf or not?? so thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚


  5. drmzz

    Thanks for sharing some familiar and new situations. Had a couple chuckles. Indeed, age and SES no matter.

  6. codadiva

    Yes my husband is Deaf. Thanks for looking!

  7. Ben from Olson Brothers

    Great Vlog! A question I get all the time is: Can your parents read braille? Smile.

  8. codadiva

    You made me chuckle! Yep, I forgot about that one!

  9. I so enjoyed your Vlog and stories! I am a hearing mother of a deaf child and one of the questions I got once from an older woman (friend of my mom’s) whom I had not seen in a long time was, she says, “oh you have a son right?” And I said “yes I actually have 3 children but you probably are thinking of my oldest” she says “oh yeah the one with the hearing aids, is he still deaf?” Oh my gosh I didn’t even try to hide my shock. Of course he’s still deaf. I totally thought the woman was an idiot, wish I had your quick wit at that moment! *laugh*

    I’ve also gotten the pity responses in finding out my son is deaf. I always try to gently tell people there is no need to feel sorry for him, there is nothing wrong with him – good grief!

    Thanks for the great video!
    Angie πŸ™‚

  10. Laura McClellan

    I am SO Glad you brought the CODA FAQs up.. because I have always wonder what my two hearing children will face in a hearing society when they get older.

    I am also interested in learning more about the hearing children of deaf parents research. I have only gotten one article, ” Hearing Children of Deaf Parents Bridging 2 Languages and 2 Cultures” by Jenny Singleton. That is not enough. Hopefully, it will take into action for Deaf Parents who want to understand more about their children incorporate in deaf and hearing cultures.

    I look forward to reading more of your vblog.


  11. codadiva

    Hi Angie and Laura,
    Thank you for your encouragement. Laura, there are studies, when I find them, I’ll put them up. I know Jenny Singleton’s article you are referring to as well.

  12. Rita

    Hi, I enjoyed your vblog and I learned several new things from you. I have a 4 yrs old KODA and I got to make sure that he is comfortable in both deaf and hearing communities. I’d love to hear more stories from you and other CODAs!


  13. Janna DeVylder

    I think my ‘favorite’ question growing up was: “How does your Mom yell at you?”

    Ummm… quite loudly, thank you very much.

    I found myself nodding to pretty much every question you stated, having heard them many times over (and still). The questions really are universal, especially the lipreading one (the answer my Mom always gives is, “If I want to.”) But I will say this: I would rather people ask than assume. While the questions were embarrassing to me as a child, as an adult I luckily have a bit more wit in my arsenal.

    I’m really enjoying your blog/vlog….

  14. Very informative and enjoyable. You’ve done a good job in this vlog post. Once, while in college, my notetaker (new), turned tome and over-exaggerated her lips to ask me if my interpreter was deaf too. Duh-oh! Sometimes you just got to wonder what goes on in people’s brains…

    ~ LaRonda

  15. codadiva

    Janna, so true! They used to ask, how do you know they are mad? By the bulging veins in their necks! Thanks for sharing!

    LaRonda, amazing isn’t it. Duh!

    Rita, thanks so much. Being aware of your Koda’s worlds is wonderful. I hope other CODAs start sharing too!

  16. Thanks so much for the narration! I’ve been trying to watch some vlogs to try to remember signing but I was never very good at it, and without subtitles or narration I’m just lost.

    Anyway, it’s not just questions about deafness that are crazy… people tend to ask dumb questions about anything that they don’t know much about. I used to be married to a man from France, and people asked him things like, “Are there traffic lights in France?” What!!!

    On the other hand, if someone had asked me if my parents were “Death” I think I’d be tempted to say, “Yes. So you’d better be nice to me or they’ll come for you next!” LOL.

  17. Great post Diva! What I thought about during this post was when family members (uncles, cousins) would tell me to, “Take care of my parents.” I always just nodded my head and went on, but looking back what a thing to put on a 9, 10 year old boy….


  18. h w

    Coda – we have two hearing sons and they can understand and sign to us well. One of them did not bother to teach his girls (implying our grandkids) to communicate with us using sign language as he and his wife were afraid that their kids may not speak well as our sons did in early ages. We explained and still explain to our son and his wife that our kids lived with us 95 percent of time and tended to copy our “deaf” speech and got their speech corrected later. However, their kids live with them 95 percent of time and they would not copy our deaf speech as long as they “copy” their hearing parents’ speech and they should be fine. They do not believe us. Can you help convince them like other people in this type of situation? We are disappointed that we can not communicate with our grandkids using sign language and use very limited words to speak with and would have to wait until they get much older and if they are still interested in talking with us as we heard that some kids in this type of situation picked up signs at age of 11 or 12 or so. Why wait too long until then? We would like to hear your suggestions that would convince our son. Our other son is very supportive and is teaching their newly born baby to learn signs. Thank you in advance for your help.

  19. Barbara Derengowski

    Hey great one with voice snd sign just loved it, you sounded so normal πŸ™‚
    What I mean by that is it sounded great!
    I just love all your expressions, I feel like your in my kitchen. (that is where my computer is) smile. Love seeing your daughter pop her head in, she is a real coda, just has to get in the action.
    Keep up the great work, your getting the message out about CODA’S.
    Hugs to you my friend.

  20. codadiva

    H W
    Wow. I’ll try to gather some kind of research, but what about buying a nice gift for the grandkids. Signing Time has great videos that sing and play with ASL. They show kids signing words. They have a new series from Baby to School. It’s been a long time since I checked it out, but it is wonderful!

    I’m sure that would be a nice gift and maybe the parents will allow the kids to enjoy it this way.

    By the way, I hope you don’t take their decision too personal. I have a feeling it is nothing to do with you but perhaps something in the way your son is feeling.

    Good luck.

  21. Anonymous

    As a CODA, the thing I heard the most, mostly in my teenage years, were my friends saying “Oh, your parents are deaf, it must be easy to sneak out.” Or when there was a party and my parents didn’t allow me to go, people would say, “Why don’t you just sneak out?”
    HELLO!! Are you crazy!! My parents are deaf, that alone makes it even harder to sneak out. Have you ever heard of the heightened senses one gains when losing their hearing? My parents, even when they were tucked in bed snoring, knew it if I got up to get a glass of water!! I am not exaggerating when I say that one time my mom came in to check on me because she “just wanted to make sure I was okay” and 20 minutes later I started getting very nauseated and sick. She knew I was sick before I knew!! No way would I have even attempted to sneak out simply because my parents were deaf. I have a feeling it would have been easier to sneak out with hearing parents than with deaf parents!!

  22. h w

    codadiva, yes, I did what you have suggested and also told them about as well as on TV on Sunday mornings (which stopped not long ago but hope it comes back again soon). It appears that son’s wife controls everything while she lacks the understanding about this situation. We try not to destroy this family but we try our best. Our younger son tried to convince our older son and his wife. Thanks for your suggestions. Aside from the above, I have met many male CODA’s who are not fond of CODA meetings et al as they think it is sort of psychological stuff. How can we convince them?

  23. codadiva

    H W
    You make me chuckle a little that other male CODAs think it psychological stuff. I know what you mean. Many think we are Cult or something. Not true. That is why in my first Vlog, it is important to just share about Coda. I understand it is not for everyone. I just ask people to keep an open mind, then make a decision.

    I wish I could convince them. My own brother is not convinced. But just keep your support on them. I can imagine it is frustrating, but the more anyone pushes, the more resistance there is, I am still wanting my brother to attend a conference with me. He refuses. Maybe 2008!

    Perhaps some of my stories or other CODA stories like Olson Brothers, stories will hit home with your son. Thank you for your spirit. With everyone sharing the spirit of CODA, it will finally become more acceptable and understood.


  24. codadiva

    I know what you mean. I only snuck out once. But it frightened me so badly that I never did it again. I also have a story of “hiding” people in my closet, I forgot about that one, I’ll have to save that for another time.

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Kim

    Hi, my mom linked me here and I really enjoyed your Vlog. When I was young, I couldn’t understand how even adults didn’t know the difference between being dead and being deaf. “Can they drive” and “How does she yell at you” were the most common. I love mentioning calling my mom, or having gotten off the phone with them, just to see friend’s stumped faces.

    TO H W
    I LOVE signing times, and so does my 1 yr old. Amazingly, I heard about it from many hearing mothers who don’t know any deafies, but want communication with their babies. I recommend a book by Joseph Garcia. “Sign with your baby : how to communicate with infants before they can speak” This book is by a hearing man who has done much research on the benefit of teaching sign as a first language, and how to start teaching babies. It is easy to read and from hearies to hearies. Maybe it will open their eyes.

  26. Kim

    My parents slept with our German Shepard in their room because she’d wake them for any single sound, especially me walking by the bedroom door. Not a trained hearing dog, but in her instincts. My brother used to quietly let her out of the room so he could go watch late night tv downstairs without getting caught.

  27. Laura


    As a deaf mom, I am still learning more about CODA kids. When you were a child, did you always tap your parents a shoulder frequently? My hearing son does that a lot to me– I often teased him back by tapping him a lot.. I had hoped it would work to stop tapping my shoulders CONSTANTLY because he is a real chatterbox!

    So, I’m curious if you or other CODA did the same with other deaf parents– like me???


  28. Laura McClellan


    As a deaf mom, I have a hearing son who does CONSTANTLY tapped my shoulder whenever he wants to talk to him– he is a real chatterbox! I have tried to do the same thing to do him because I had hoped it would teach him a lesson– unfortunately, it didn’t work. (He knows that he can tap my shoulder if it is urgent)

    My question is does any of you or other CODA did the same thing to your deaf parents by tapping shoulders frequently?

  29. Louise

    I did a group project for school last fall where we sent out a survey to some CODAs. We asked them about dumb questions they’ve been asked and I loved reading the answers! A lot of the responses were the same, of course.

    Are they dumb/mute?
    Do you/your parents read Braille?
    Do they read and write?
    Why are you not deaf too?/Will you become deaf?
    Does your house have ramps?
    Are your parents on welfare?/Do they have jobs?
    How can they have/raise children?
    How do you talk to them?
    How can they yell at you?
    How did you learn to talk?
    Deaf people are really quiet, huh?
    Do you speak deaf?
    Aren’t you scared to have a Deaf baby?
    If I talk loud can they hear me?
    Deaf people can sneeze? Wow!
    Can you say anything you want to them?
    Were they born like that?

    My favorite: “So, what’s it like having deaf parents?”
    Well, what’s it like having hearing parents? I don’t know anything else!

    I recently had a family member ask me why I had to go to grad school to go into deaf education since I “do it so well.” (I assume he meant “sign” so well…) I tried to explain that just because he speaks English he can’t just walk into any classroom and teach kids who speak English. No luck. Freakin’ hearing people…

  30. codadiva

    That cracked me up! The best sentence was the last one!! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Adri

    I get these questions all the time. Especially since i had to phone for my parents since i was small and i kept having to explain why they couldn’t come to the phone themselves- “they’re deaf.”
    “Oh, i’m very sorry to hear that. My sympathies”
    “No, no, deaffff”
    “Oh…um… (awkward) alright… um… we’ll send a pamphlet…”

    Also- how did i learn to talk…

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one πŸ™‚

  32. codadiva

    That’s right Adri, you are not the only one…there are many of us! We had a good talk about “death or deaf” at the retreat! Many laughs at how ignorant people are!

  33. GENEVA

    hi I am new here. nice place. My mom is deaf my dad was not. My stepdad is and I have many step brothers and sisters who are. And 3 uncles that are. When I was pregnant with my daughter now 7 I had many of those “Ohhh what if it comes out deaf” AHHHHHHHHHH shut up you ignorant hearing people it’s not the end of the world. Or can your mom drive. How did your mom have sex. I did have a lady at my work that drew my moms name for christmas (yes she works with me) and she asked what does your mom like? When I told her books she did ask “do they have to be in brail” NO JOKE. Anyways thanks again for this. Wish me luck I am studying for my RID NIC.

  34. Hi everyone, I just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading all these stupid questions and so on a so forth, but i have 2 stories about my experience of the ignorant hearing world.

    1) The phone rings at my house…
    “Hi is Mr. (my dad) there?”
    “Ummm….yea, he’s here, can I ask who is calling?”
    (Some kind of stupid courtesey call operator)
    “Yea, he’s deaf, so he’s (obviously) not going to be able to talk on the phone”
    “Oh, ok, I’ll call him back later. Have a nice day” (click)

    And now I’m stuck on the other line, screaming into the phone…”HES DEAF! HE’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE DEAF! Don’t call back because HE IS STILL GOING TO BE DEAF WHEN YOU CALL!!!”

    2) This story is a peak example of the first part of the blog (deaF-death?)…

    One time I was at a party with my girlfriend. The party was fun until one kid began to complain about how hard his life was. My girlfriend…(not exactly filled in on deaf culture yet…) said “Well, I bet your life isn’t as hard as haveing 2 deaf parents.” The boy looked at me and asked “what?” in a very defensive manner. I paused and then looked at him to say “yea, my parents are both deaf.” Immediatley, the boy grabs my throat and screams, “MY MOTHER WAS A SAINT!” The confrentation turned into a huge fist fight, and when it was all said and done, I found out later that he was misinterpreting deaF for DEATH, and on top of that, his mother had died within the last few years.

    Besides the fact that he was obviously disturbed beyond my comprehension, this hearing fool was so ignorant, that it turned a sympathetic situation into a highly disturbing one.

    Anyway, thats my 2 cents… Thanks for this blog, its nice to see that I’m not alone in a world full of blind hearing people.

    Keep the love!

  35. ChelseaUnicornn

    Yaa, its not that big of a deal though. Both of my parents are deaf, and kids walk up to me saying
    “wow your parents are death!” It completely annoys me. Plus people think its so cool, but there are alot of disadvantages. When i was younger, i had severe asthma, 4-5 attacks a year. My parents couldnt tell if i was having an attack or not. And getting a local job is a problem. My mother had to drive 1 1/2 hours to save her job. Its not that great……..

  36. Baelie

    I am a COLAGE (children of lesbian and gays everywhere) and I find striking similarities between the questions CODAs and COLAGEs are asked. When I was in elementary school and middle school, I avoided telling people about my dads because I thought the questions were so personal, irritating, and offensive. I was often embarrassed when a friend would find out and ask, “So, what’s it like to have gay dads?” And like Louise (an earlier comment), I said, “I don’t know. What’s it like to have a straight dad? I don’t know anything else!”

    As I got older and more of my friends learned about my family, I realized that while some of the questions were outright stupid, most of the time they were genuinely curious questions. How could they know they were asking a dumb question? They don’t know anything about this culture. It took a while, but I learned I could use my experiences as a straight child of a gay parent to educate my friends (or anyone who asked questions, really).

    I will not argue that CODAs or COLAGEs have similar childhood experiences, but I will say this about us: we have parents who aren’t like other parents. I believe that the best way to educate about our unique cultures is to entertain the curiosities. I’ll even go as far as saying curiosity is a step toward equality!

    Even if it means entertaining REALLY dumb questions.

    Love your vlog – I can’t wait to learn more! πŸ™‚

  1. 1 Sign Language expert Lisa Callsen will be talking with us on the 29th. - Special Needs Kids Talk Radio

    […] Take a look atΒ  her video that answers some very common questions she was faced with as an adult and that she still encounters. […]

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