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Deaf Project Fund


Forging New Relationships

Bringing support and resources to families raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.

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Deaf Family

Navigating the Deaf education system is complex and surprisingly political from the moment an infant is identified as Deaf or Hard of Hearing. For most families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children, their child is the first Deaf person they have ever met. All too often, they are informed that for the greatest outcomes, their child should NOT use American Sign Language. This is empirically untrue and completely unsubstantiated, and is motivated by a medical perspective with a limited view of what it means to be Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Parents of newly identified Deaf or Hard of Hearing children need the support of parent mentors to help them navigate the complex medical and political systems they will encounter, and to guide them without judgment in making decisions that will have the strongest outcomes for their children.

Founded in 2008, the Deaf Education And Families Project (DEAF Project) has served over 3,500 southern California families raising Deaf or Hard of Hearing children. Four parent mentors who are also raising children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing work for DEAF Project an average of 55 hours/week. They reach out by phone to new referrals, meet families face-to-face during weekly American Sign Language (ASL) classes for families, connect with families in person when geographically feasible, host Family Fun Days on the weekends, attend trainings and engage in other outreach events in schools and in the community.

DEAF Project has empowered families and been appreciated by professionals. From one of our parents: "As hearing parents of a Deaf child, who wish to raise him bi-lingual and bi-cultural, CSUN [DEAF Project] has been an invaluable resource. I expect that we will continue to tap into the CSUN programs and expertise as the years go by.”