Mother creates support for parents

2015-12-15 06:00
Chevone Petersen, here with son Kai, has the opportunity to speak at an international conference after she established a support group for parents who have children with impaired hearing.

Chevone Petersen, here with son Kai, has the opportunity to speak at an international conference after she established a support group for parents who have children with impaired hearing.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

When Chevone Petersen’s son was diagnosed with hearing loss in 2011, she keenly felt a lack of support for parents.

But four years later, Petersen has been invited to speak about hearing-impaired children at the third International Family Centred Early Intervention Congress in Austria next year.

After her son’s diagnosis, Petersen felt isolated and wanted to connect with other parents, but “could not find information or support as a mother with a child who has been diagnosed with mild hearing loss initially, which then started fluctuating between mild and moderate across the frequencies,” she says.

“I found my support initially through a Yahoo group and then I was introduced to a Facebook group for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. I also made it my business to understand hearing loss, best practice internationally and intervention offered and I started advocating for my child,” she says.

Realising that local parents aren’t empowered and often lack information to make informed decisions, Petersen started Decibels of Love, the first volunteer parent-to-parent support and advocacy organisation in South Africa that is activated by a parent for parents.

“We’ve reached 20 families through our family mornings, we’re reaching hundreds of people through our Facebook page globally – sharing information, encouraging parents with uplifting stories and we provide support after hours,” she says.

“Our focus is not only on empowering the family, but also pushing back and creating awareness at institutional level regarding the challenges families and their children face in their communities.”

Parents are at the core of their child’s success, Petersen believes.

“We need to empower parents to not sit back, but to stand up and speak up for their children and drive policy changes and implementation thereof. Also, parents must know that they are not alone, they do not have to navigate this journey in isolation. We can connect them with other parents who are willing to support,” she explains.

Attending this conference next year will give Decibels of Love an international platform to raise awareness, share experiences and network while learning, Petersen says.

“This is really a significant opportunity for me. I’ve really submerged myself in learning as much as possible about hearing loss, the impact it has on families and the need for a family-centred approach to diagnoses, intervention and support,” she says.

“This is also an opportunity for me to finally meet with international mentors whom I’ve been networking with via social media. It is an opportunity to also share the unique challenges we face here in South Africa.”

Petersen needs to raise R20000 to cover all her travel expenses before she can confirm her attendance early in January.

For more information, or to contribute, email

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.