Obsah bakalářské práce

Popis a činnost sdružení CODA v Dánsku, anglická verze - Keil, M. (transl.):  Foreningen Børn af Døve, Danmark. The Danish Association of Children of Deaf Parents, 1999.



The Danish Association of Children of Deaf Parents



 Foreningen Børn af Døve (Danish Association of Children of Deaf Parents)

Danske Døves Landsforbund (Danish Association of The Deaf)

Rantzausgade 60,1.

DK-2200 Copenhagen N

Tel.+45 35 24 09 10; Type text tel.+45 35 24 09 19; Fax +45 35 24 09 20


Published by: Foreningen Børn af Døve with financial support from the National Lottery and the National Football Pools

Sketch artist: Hanna Orlof

Poem: Hardi Nordentoft

Lay out:       Palle Juhl

Printed by:    Duplika Danmark A/S

First edition:    July 1998 (in english 1999)

Translation:   Michael Keil


Table of Contents: 

Foreningen Børn af Døve (The Danish Association of Children of Deaf Parents) 

Being Deaf 

What is meant by a deaf family? 

The Parents 

Children in deaf families 

Communication in a deaf family 

The work of the Association


Foreningen Børn af Døve

 (The Danish Association of Children of Deaf Parents)


The Association's name in Danish is Foreningen Børn af Døve.


The Association was founded in 1977 on the initiative of a group of adults who all had one thing in common: the fact that their parents were deaf.


At that time the aim of the Association was to give the bearing children of deaf parents the opportunity of meeting one another and discussing common experiences and conditions during their formative years.


The present aims of the Association are:


In conjunction with Danske Døves Landsforbund ( Danish Association of the Deaf) and others to ensure that deaf parents have the same access to knowledge about children and their development as their hearing counterparts have and to disseminate information about the conditions for and within families with deaf and hearing members.


Since its foundation the Association, which covers the whole country, has been operating without any public funding. The members pay an annual subscription and a participation fee when taking part in functions and activities.


All activities are undertaken and carried out by volunteers. The Executive Committee applies for economic support to the National Lottery, Football Pools and foundations.


The Association's Executive Committee is elected at the AGM. The Executive Committee is accountable in respect of the Association's activities and financial affairs.


Any person who is interested in the aims of the Association is eligible to become a member. The Association can be contacted through the Danish Association of the Deaf.



Poem:     Hardi Nordentoft



You can hear the wind rustling in the tree

The bird singing on the bough

You can hear the bells tolling in the belfry

The car flashing by on the highway

You can hear a child calling "Mummy"

The boy saying "I love you" to the girl


 I can’t hear the wind rustling in the tree

The bird singing on the bough

I can't hear the bells tolling in the belfry

The car flashing by on the highway

I can't hear the child calling "Mummy"

The boy saying "I love you" to the girl



I can see the wind rustling in the tree

The bird singing on the bough

I can see the congregation going to church

The car flashing by foot hard dawn

I can see the child calling for "Mummy"

The boy smiling tenderly at the girl

Being deaf


Being deaf and thereby having a communication disability means that there is a whole range of information which the deaf person does not automatically receive. It applies to all the information which is received through TV and radio and the infinite amount of information which hearing persons receive through conversations with the people they meet during the course of the day: i.e. family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and nursery school teachers in day care canters.


Consequently, it can be difficult for deaf parents to have a multi-facetted knowledge with regard to the norms, attitudes and expectations prevailing in society - also with regard to children and the bringing up of children.


There are approx. 4.000 deaf persons in Denmark and they use sign language as their primary language.


The majority of deaf persons feel that they are at their best and most articulate when using sign language. Danish is the deaf person's first foreign language and is learnt first and foremost as a written language. Many deaf persons have difficulty reading and writing Danish and comprehending the differences in meaning - the same experience many Danes have when they are reading and writing in a foreign language.


The deaf refer to and perceive themselves as being a linguistic and cultural minority. The group is small and almost everybody knows everybody else in it - or knows somebody who is a mutual friend. This close affiliation and solidarity within the group has many advantages and helps to create a feeling of cohesion. The disadvantages can be a lack of anonymity and the feeling of social control.


 Communicating with the deaf


The deaf are just people like everybody else.


Speak directly - don't be nervous; deaf people are used to speaking to people who don't use sign language.


Use natural gestures, point at the thing/person you're talking about; use facial expressions.


Speak a little more slowly that you normally do.


Use distinct, but not exaggerated, mouth and lip movements - avoid shouting.


Allow the light to fall on your face.


Avoid chewing gum and the like as this can make lip reading more difficult.


Use pen and paper - start by using simple sentences! Danish, English or any other spoken language are foreign languages for deaf persons, so many people prefer short, precise sentences.


Persons interested in learning sign language may have the opportunity of attending sign language courses nm by different organisations in their local authority area.


What is meant by a deaf family?


It is a family where at least one of the parents is deaf or so hard of hearing that sign language is the person’s primary language.


In a deaf family sign language is the family’s common language.


The Parents


All parents - deaf as well as hearing - want the best for their children and based on their own experiences and opportunities want to give their children the possibility of enjoying a good life.


However, for deaf parents the following applies:

   they have fewer opportunities of obtaining general knowledge and information about children and their development

   they have fewer possibilities of being able to follow their own children's lives and development

   they have difficulty stimulating their children's awareness of sounds and the spoken language.

   every day they have to act in accordance with the hearing world's limited knowledge of the deaf and the consequences that arise from being deaf.


Therefore deaf parents need opportunities to:

   be able to meet and exchange experiences in relation to the role of being a parent

   receive general guidance and counselling about children and their development

   obtain information and enter into discussions on the special circumstances lacing deaf families

   have interpreters made available in order to be able undertake the role of parenthood in relation to  society hi general

   obtain support for the child in order to compensate for the parents' lack of hearing


Furthermore, there is a need for health visitors, staff in day care centres, teachers and others to be able to have the opportunity of receiving information about the special circumstances of hearing children.


Children in deaf families


In a deaf family the bearing child grows up with two languages:

Sign language which is the primary language of the parents - and

Danish which in the course of time will be the child's primary

The hearing child grows up in two cultures:

the culture of the deaf - and

Danish culture


The child belongs to both worlds and every day it has to be continually crossing over from one culture to the other.

All children have the right to expect that the adults closest to them - parents and others - will take on the burden of responsibility in relation to them and their family, but hearing children with deaf parents often have the experience that the hearing world as well as the deaf parents expect the children to help their parents to cope with life's everyday problems - especially problems of communication.

Consequently the children can take on roles and responsibilities which are not theirs and with which they do not have the qualifications to cope.

All deaf as well as hearing adults should support the child in just being a child. The child should not be asked to perform tasks which are not natural for children of that age. Never use the child as an interpreter - it can be tempting, but the child cannot - neither linguistically nor mentally - take on the responsibility for communication between adults.

Out of consideration for the identity of the child as a hearing person it is important that the child has close emotional contact with hearing adults -grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. It is important that the hearing adults have a positive attitude to the deaf and sign language.



Communication in deaf families......


Sign language is a language in its own right - just as expressive and varied as other languages.

Sign language is a visual language. The grammar is different from that of Danish.

Sign language consists of hand positions, head, body and hand movements, gestures, glances and eye movements.

Sign language is not an international language.     

Signed Danish is a hybrid form of sign language and spoken Danish

Signed Danish can be used in communication between deaf and bearing adults

Signed Danish influences both languages. Communication is not so multi-facetted and express as it would be if sign language or the spoken language were being used. Communication using signed Danish can only succeed if the deaf person knows some Danish and the hearing person has a knowledge of the grammar of sign language.

Sign language is the primary language of the deaf. Most deaf persons feel that they have the best form of contact with other people when sign language is being used. When communicating with hearing persons the deaf often have to make use of lip reading, but it is difficult as well as demanding to lip read Danish. Even if a person is good at lip reading, information which is dependent upon voice intonation cannot always be understood. Is the person asking a question, being ironic, serious, funny, bad tempered - or??

It is important for contact and communication within the family that the child's sign language is well developed. It is also very important that deaf parents immediately after the birth of the child begin to use sign language with the little baby. Sign language should be the family's common language.

The child learns to understand and speak sign language in the same way as a hearing child with hearing parents learns to understand and speak Danish.


In the deaf family where sign language is used with the child, the child will already at the age of 6-8 months be able to use the first signs. The child's motor function is not so developed that it is able to use the signs correctly, but the deaf parents will quickly learn to understand their child much in the same way as hearing parents learn to understand their chilďs first spoken words.


Communicating by way of sign language demands more time. There has to be constant eye contact and both hands have to be free. The little hearing child coming home from the day care centre will have learnt several new words in Danish, but the child will not know the signs for the new words and apart from that it is by no means certain that the child is able to pronounce the words correctly in Danish. It makes it even more difficult for parents to lip read the child who does not have enough linguistic understanding to be able to paraphrase and to make itself understood using other words/signs.


In order that the hearing child can develop into a harmonious person, speaking 2 languages of equal status, it is important that the child receives offers of assistance and support so that it also can develop its command of spoken Danish. Danish is the language the child will have to use as the means of communication outside the home. Grandparents, nursery school teachers and others can support the child as well as the deaf parents by regularly and consciously working with and speaking to the child in Danish: reading books, singing, playing language games, reciting nursery rhymes etc. It is also important to train the chilďs perception of sound and put words on different sources of sound. 


The work of the Association is:


   to make it possible for deaf parents to be able to meet one another in:

study circles

lecture evenings

weekend activities for the whole family

  to make it possible for hearing children to be able to meet one another in:

social activities and functions

club activities

weekend activities

   to support the work undertaken for deaf families in the local branches of the Danish  Association of Children of Deaf Parents

   to register relevant literature, feature films, video films and other material about deaf families

   to influence legislation so that in the future consideration will be taken to the needs of deaf families in relation to:


support and counselling for families as well as professional

social workers working with the children

reducing working hours and initiating compensation for

loss of earnings

the granting of relevant remedial measures for the children

as well as their parents

mother tongue  education  (sign  language  for hearing



  rendering visible those difficulties which many deaf families experience. This is achieved by way of:



written feature articles

participation in conferences, seminars etc


Hearing parents who have a deaf child are able to receive help and support in relation to the special problems which deafness creates within the hearing family. Present legislation provides opportunities for granting compensation for loss of earnings, family support, sign language courses, technical aids, participating on tailor-made courses for deaf families etc.


Deaf parents who have a hearing child have in the same way a need for support, counselling and guidance in connection with their child's upbringing but existing legislation does not provide die same opportunities for deaf parents as it does for their counterparts - hearing parents with deaf children.


It is the child's disability which triggers off the right to assistance. As the hearing child in the deaf family is not disabled, then at present it is only the hearing family with the deaf child which is eligible to receive help and support even though the circumstances of the two families in many ways are similar.


The Ministry of Social Affairs has in 1998 made a grant of Dkr. 8.4 million for a 4-year project "Parental Counselling for the Deaf. The project has been designed and drawn up by the Danish Association of the Deaf and the Center for the Deaf.


The Danish Association of Children of Deaf Parents anticipates that the project will lead on to a permanent offer of counselling and guidance being made available for deaf parents and the passing of legislation which will make for the equal treatment of deaf and hearing families.