Define CODA.


The other day I saw a post by a friend of mine, they had been posting similar things over the past month or so, out of a great sense of despair.

I identified with their struggle and suggested they sought counselling as I knew it would redirect them to the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, another post. More complimentary comments which were all true but not the answer they sought. Cyber friends cannot bring someone out of their depression as they are not qualified to do so. One can only reassure and when this wears off, more cries for help will inevitably be made. So once again, counselling was suggested..

Another day, another post. Someone else suggested counselling.

Another day, another post. Someone else once again suggested counselling but tailored for CODA’s. They identify themselves as a CODA of which, my sister is also one. This meant, they (finally?) listened..

CODA’s are forced to take on the role of being an interpreter (and then some) for their parents who happen to be deaf and in return tend to feel, they are the parent of their parent(s).

Only natural.

But, what about deaf children of deaf adults, or hearing adults? Whichever way the situation is reversed, there is always another in the very same position, feeling the very same emotions. What exactly sets a hearing CODA apart from others who have also been forced to take on such a role?

Does this mean that being a CODA however you wish to identify with or define it, would not really make any difference to who the counsellor may be, due to the more familiar core issues being scratched, at the surface?

People should always retain the right to choose which counselling service they would prefer and most do advocate their right. It would mean then, they are “at home” with the counsellor and feel more or less, understood. Listened to. So long, both the counsellor and the patient are comfortable.

An example. 

If people wish to be specific, let them.

Just beware, of organisations taking advantage of one’s disadvantages.

I am more at home, with those who are prepared to step into other people’s shoes and walk at least a hundred miles in them. With those who are willing to keep an open mind and are not afraid, to explore the differing perspectives. With those who are willing to accept honesty, the truth and introspect themselves in order to improve. Otherwise…

Que sera, sera.

Additional thoughts from a very good friend of mine.;

“CODAs have it tough. I’m not saying that because I have 2! I just remember the man who failed all of my level 1 BSL group in our mock assessments. A few years went on and basically he was dying. They couldn’t find an interpreter for him or his wife so had to use their daughter. (I think she was 8 or 9 at the time.)
She basically had to tell him and his wife (her own parents) that he was dying. It makes my heart cry to think, if that was me, that could be my daughter.
At that time, a friend’s mum was lecturing at Wolverhampton uni about sign linguistics and she heard about it. It was then she and her friend started working in their garage to form an interpretering agency that did 24/7 service to stop stuff like this from happening. He unfortunately, did die.

It is hard going being a coda regardless of whether you are deaf or hearing . For your children too. Because of the way some of their friend’s parents in the past have perceived you. Just because you can’t hear and wear hearing aids doesn’t make you an alien. I think it makes you stand out more, makes you more unique. Makes you different but not incapable of being a good mummy to your three.”

Being a child of deaf adults means we experience the same prejudices and take on the parental roles, regardless. Our life experiences may differ yet to a counsellor, the symptoms are the same.

Don’t forget, my parents are deaf. Therefore, I understand. My sister understands. My children understand. My friends, also understand. You (will) understand.


~ SJ (Sara Jae)