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Online Resources for Parents

By Lindsay Hutton

Online Resources for Parents

The best thing about the Internet is that anyone can have a website. Unfortunately, that’s also the worst thing about the internet: anyone can have a website. These days, any Tom, Dick or Henrietta can purchase their own little piece of the world wide web, position themselves as an expert, and post just about anything with little to no responsibility over the accuracy of the content.

When it comes to matters more serious than who Jessica Simpson is dating, there remains a paltry few websites offering information that is duly researched (or ‘fact checked,’ as they call it in the media business). Notwithstanding, there are several good websites offering vetted support and resources to deaf and hard-of-hearing children and youth and their parents. Here’s a list of solid web-based resources offering an expanse of information, from fact-y to fun, and most shades in between. (Disclaimer: Anything health-related found online should always be verified with a doctor or licensed health care provider.)

Mayo Clinic – Health Canada has lofty plans to make its website more user-friendly, but until that day comes, the Mayo Clinic is the essential resource for any and all health-related matters. Their health entries offer up-to-the-minute research on just about anything, from hangnails and the common cold to nutrition and long-term care. http://www.mayoclinic.com

The Canadian Hearing Society - The CHS has a broad mandate, but is your immediate go-to organization for key services for your child, including language development counseling for children and also in the realm of assistive technologies – sans the BS and the sales pitch. With over 27 offices across the country, there’s likely a branch near you. http://www.chs.ca

Deaf Planet – Likely one of the best websites geared toward deaf children online, Deaf Planet hosts a series of games bent toward “sparking the curiosity” of deaf and hard of hearing children toward broader learning objectives. Presented in ASL, and geared towards students aged 8-12. http://www.deafplanet.com

Raising Deaf Kids – Hosted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, this site is an omnibus of parenting resources for deaf and hard of hearing children and youth. Featuring a host of articles and links relating to your needs from your child’s infancy to teen years, this is definitely one to add to your favourites in your web browser. http://www.raisingdeafkids.org

Persons with Disabilities Online (Government of Canada) - Anyone browsing through “civilian” websites dedicated to deaf/HH rights and resources knows that the information can vary from site to site. Here’s the skinny on all government-related matters in relation to disability, including equity issues and available government programs and services, with a special section on deaf/HH resources. http://www.pwd-online.ca

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association - The only non-profit run for and by hard of hearing people in Canada, this site is chock full of resources for parents and kids. The exhaustive resource page carries dozens of useful links on assistive technologies, medical information, listings for local services and kid-focused spaces online. http://www.chha.ca

Hand Speak – Probably one of the largest, most popular, interactive ASL dictionaries online. For a small monthly fee, several thousand ASL signs are a ready at your fingertips. (Note: Regional variations of ASL exist, and this site is not meant to replace professional instruction.) http://www.handspeak.com