Hi everyone, and welcome to my Deaference website. I am Hameeda Raj - mum to three beautiful children who are the inspirations for the characters in my first children's book 'Ali and Aidy go to the Beach'.
Let's start with a statistic - good to use when putting something into context!
'4 babies are born deaf every day*, often to hearing parents with little or no experience of dealing with hearing loss issues'.
I was one of these parents several years ago, except my son's hearing loss was diagnosed a lot after he was born, when he was over 2 years old. As parents, my husband and myself got the shock of our lives when after a simple grommet operation we were told our son was severely-profoundly deaf. I knew nothing about deafness, and had no history of hearing loss in our family. And so, we were immersed into the deaf world right at the deep end. My son's hearing loss affects his speech and language so whilst he is very vocal and communicates with speech, there are a lot of words and their meanings that he doesn't know or understand. We therefore use a combination of speech and British Sign Language (BSL).
I've created this website 'Deaference' in the hope to help such families by offering a small helping hand towards improved communication. I've created a book (the first of many I hope!) to capture the essence of story-telling with signs specifically with a deaf character, unlike traditional books. I hope these books are enjoyed by parents, children, and anyone else who may be affected by hearing loss - or simply those who wish to enrich their reading experience with visual signs. As the mother of a deaf son, this subject is close to my heart. I hope to share our lives’ challenges and triumphs in the form of a blog also available to view on this website. I hope it gives some support and encouragement to those going through similar experiences.
Have a look through the website for news about the book and its main characters and things going on - enjoy!
I made it in the local news 20/02/14:
Here's an article about the book on 'Limping Chicken':
And you can read a bit more about what else I've been busy with in my previous article with them: