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In Deaf culture, a child of deaf adult (or simply coda) is a hearing person who was raised by a deaf parent or guardian. Many codas have dual identity between deaf and hearing cultures. A similar term koda (kids of deaf adults), is sometimes used to refer to codas under the age of 18.
Because the children are hearing, but raised in a visual signing environment, they may face difficulty with social and cultural norms that differ from the norms within their deaf community, especially when attending hearing school. In some cases codas may need speech therapy due to limited exposure to spoken language. Generally though, codas are exposed to spoken language models through extended family members, neighbours, and television. Because the children are hearing, though they are raised in a deaf home they do not go through the same experiences as their parents, such as going to deaf school. As such, many feel that they don't fully fit in with the deaf world or the hearing world.
The organization CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) was established in 1983 by founder Millie Brother. CODA began hosting annual conferences in 1986 in Fremont, California. The conferences have grown and become truly international with members from all over the world. CODA has raised awareness among codas themselves, the deaf community and the hearing world about the unique experiences and issues of growing up between these two cultures. These experiences and issues seem to be universal among codas regardless of what spoken and sign languages they used. In fact many issues also apply to codas raised with deaf parents who are oral and do not sign. An example of similar cultural identity issues can be found with children of expatriates in a phenomenon known as Third Culture Kid.
There are support groups for Deaf parents who may be concerned about raising their hearing children, as well as support groups for CODAs that have grown up into adults.
- Alexander Graham Bell, however he was notoriously anti-Deaf, wanted the forced sterilization of deaf people.
- Edward Miner Gallaudet, founder of Gallaudet University, the world's only university for deaf and hard of hearing students. He is the son of Sophia Fowler Gallaudet and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of the American School for the Deaf, the first school for the deaf in the U.S.
- Homer Thornberry, a United States Representative from the 10th congressional district of Texas from 1948 to 1963
- Jeff McWhinney, a leader in the UK deaf community
- Jim Snavley, Poet, Pioneer, east african warlord
- Keith Wann, with two other Deaf actors, perform regularly in a troupe called Iceworm, to showcase the cultural and linguistic barrier faced between the Deaf and hearing worlds in a comedic fashion.
- Lon Chaney, Sr., American actor raised by deaf parents, his upbringing allowed him to better communicate in silent film
- Lou Fant, actor, acting coach in Hollywood,Ca
- Lou Ann Walker, who wrote A Loss for Words, a story about her experience as one of three siblings growing up with two Deaf parents.
- Louise Fletcher, American, Academy Award, Best Actress for One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest.
- Richard Griffiths, English actor.
- Stefan LeFors, American football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers
Other Deaf Culture acronyms to be aware of include: SODA - Spouse or Sibling of a Deaf adult OHCODA - Only Hearing Child of Deaf Adult(s) (deaf parents AND deaf siblings) OCODA - Only Child of Deaf Adult(s) (no siblings)
- Mother Father Deaf: Living Between Sound & Silence, Paul Preston, ISBN 0-674-58748-0