About the Foundation

A Void Needed to be Filled in the Deaf Community

As a pediatric nurse at UCLA Hospital years ago, the importance of the child-parent relationship was obvious. It was apparent how parents who are knowledgeable regarding health issues raise their children with fewer medical and ER visits and less panic and frustration. It was clear the deaf parents were not getting the same information as hearing parents. The realization occurred that information presented before pregnancy began would lead to healthier pregnancies, babies and children.

Research showed there was no program for the deaf and no place for deaf families to receive medical education in a culturally sensitive mode in their own language. There was a void in the community. Medical colleagues and deaf friends alike were surveyed to learn what type of program was wanted.

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A home visitation program was begun targeting the 800,000 deaf living in Los Angeles County. Referrals were numerous, a waiting list was begun and Perinatal Foundation for the Deaf was born.

A Void Needed to be Filled in the Medical Community

Health professionals are often unaware of deaf needs until an appointment when the inability to communicate becomes obvious or the deaf person requests an interpreter for their visit. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for interpreters, yet doctors hire them for only 22% of medical visits. Deaf pregnant women denied an interpreter must find another doctor, accept their visits without an interpreter, or go without medical advice.

The inability to communicate and the resulting lack of education are problems often unwittingly exacerbated by medical personnel who appear to be uncomfortable around deaf people. This behavior leaves the pregnant women with increased feelings of isolation, confusion, and leads to misunderstandings.

The need to educate the medical community regarding appropriate modes of communication with their deaf patients is apparent. Perinatal Foundation for the Deaf addresses this need.

Perinatal Foundation for the Deaf was created to fill the Void