Parents with children who are deaf or hard of hearing have new resource in California

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Seventeen-month-old Copper loves to play and his hearing loss can't slow him down. When he was born, his parents learned they would be dealing with a new parenting challenge.

"It was completely different than raising our other two, as far as not knowing what he needed. So in that aspect it was different, but as far as development he's a little boy just like the other two," said Bethany Sellia, Copper's mom

On Monday, deaf education officials in Fresno and from the California Department of Education s came together to pass out the latest version of the Silent Garden: a parent's guide to raising a deaf child in English and Spanish.

Fresno State professor Dr. Paul Odgen, who is deaf, wrote the book, to help bridge gaps.

"Knowing that the families have a long journey of learning about their child and how to provide for them, there's so much the families have to go through."

Dr. Ogden's goal is to help children get resources so they can be on the right education track.

About 1200 babies born every year in California are born deaf of hard of hearing. About half come from Hispanic families, which is why the book comes in two languages.

"It's really important for the Hispanic community to know about this project. To help parents that don't speak English," said Pilar Garcia with the Sunflowers in the Silent Garden Foundation.

Fresno mom Arlene Sevilla is thankful for the resources she's received since taking 10-month-old Xavier to Lori Ann Infant program. She had never been around anyone who was deaf until she had Xavier.

"It was my first time when I heard I was just so heartbroken. Why him, what did I do? It was really hard for me and I had a lot of support."

Support both of these Valley families have as they raise their children.

Sellia said, "The more I learn about the hard of hearing and deaf community, the more I feel less apprehensive, I feel like I am not afraid of my son's future."

Thanks to the Sunflowers in the Silent Garden non-profit, this book will now be handed out to parents across the state.
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