CODA (CHILD OF DEAF ADULT)
In the culture of the deaf, CODA, which means “child of deaf adult”, is a person without any hearing disability who was brought up by a guardian or a parent that is deaf. There are several CODAs that have double identity between deaf and hearing culture. There is another similar term to CODA which is KODA (kids of deaf adult). Koda is mostly used to describe codas who are under the age of 18.
Because the children aren’t suffering from any hearing defect or disability, and are brought up in a visual signing environment, there may be some anomaly or difficulty in how they fit in to certain social and cultural norms of the deaf community, particularly when they are enrolled in a hearing school. In few instance, some codas may require speech therapy because they are not familiar with spoken language. Generally, through family members, close relatives, neighbors, television, codas are exposed to some spoken language models.
Since the children are not deaf, though they are brought up by deaf parents, they do not go through the same experience as their parents, like attending deaf school. Because of that, many people believe that these children do not completely fit in with the deaf society of the hearing realm.
The organization CODA was established in the year 1983 by founder Millie Brother. Child of deaf adult, Coda, started hosting their yearly conferences in the year 1986 in Fremont, California. Coda conferences have enjoyed several recognitions around the world. Coda has done a lot to ensure that codas themselves, the deaf community, including the hearing world are briefed about the amazing experience and troubling issues that comes with growing up between these dual cultures. The experiences and problems that codas face are universal amongst codas irrespective of how they interact with each other.
Actually, there are several problems associated with codas brought up with deaf guardians who are oral and do not interact with signs. A typical instance of a similar cultural identity problem can be evident in kids of expatriates in a setting widely regarded as Third Culture Kid. There exist some groups who have pledged their support to helping deaf parents who may have problems with bringing up their hearing children, and support organizations for CODAs that have grown up into adults.
Protection is another issue, maybe the most critical, that coda’s face within a coda society or a family setting. The hearing child may have difficulty in correctly interpreting for their deaf parents’ certain insensitive comments made by hearing persons who feel that everyone in the family is deaf because they all communicate with the aid of signs. Most times, codas go through certain isolation including rejection from friends because they don’t feel cool around them or wouldn’t want to associate with the deaf family members, thereby resulting in a situation whereby these children can’t freely talk about how they are treated because of how it will make their parents feel.