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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of a 28-year-old son who is deaf. He is a contributing member of his community and a wonderful father to his beautiful 3-year-old hearing son.

There is life after children -- even deaf ones, I'm happy to report. As a parent, I have arrived at this "normal" state with the help and wisdom of many who have been here before me -- professionals, parents of other deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and deaf and hard-of-hearing adults.

Many parents with young children recently discovered to be deaf or hard of hearing don't realize that they are in the mainstream. They feel isolated. I talk to some of them daily on the LEAD LINE of the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.

Because so many parents, their friends and relatives get so much useful information from your column, Abby, I hope you will share two sources of information and support available to them: The first is the LEAD LINE, whose telephone numbers are 1-800-287-4763 in California and 1-800-352-8888 for the rest of the United States, or http://www.hei.org. As a parent with broad advisory support, I respond to LEAD LINE callers with up-to-date, unbiased information about whatever their concerns may be -- potty training to college programs.

The second is a recently published book for parents titled "The Silent Garden," new and completely revised, by Paul Ogden, Ph.D., a teacher trainer who also happens to be deaf since birth. Years ago, his first book was very important to me. This new book, published by Gallaudet University Press, provides parents with sensitive understanding of the issues and decisions before them, the choices available, and the personal recollections and insights of some of the 350 families and 500 deaf and hard-of-hearing adults who participated in interviews and discussions with him through the years. -- BARBARA LINCOLN, COORDINATOR, HOUSE EAR INSTITUTE LEAD LINE, LOS ANGELES

DEAR BARBARA: Thank you for sharing a valuable information resource. When a child is diagnosed with a severe hearing disability, not only do the parents need guidance, they also need reassurance that they can prepare their child for a rich and productive life. Between your helpline and Dr. Ogden's wealth of experience, parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children should find an excellent resource to benefit their families.

DEAR ABBY: Mom and I have been arguing about something for a week or so. Recently while Mom was visiting her parents, she went into the bedroom for something and saw Grandpa's checkbook lying open on the dresser. She looked through it and discovered that for the past year, her parents had been giving large sums of money to her brothers and sisters.

When she came to me about it, I told her that it was none of her business and she was guilty of snooping. Mom says the fact that she was snooping is beside the point. She feels that she should talk to her parents about those checks her siblings are getting -- because she would like to get some money, too.

What do you think? -- TROUBLED DAUGHTER

DEAR TROUBLED DAUGHTER: Your mother was wrong to have gone through her father's checkbook. But since she did, she should now discuss it with her parents. If she doesn't, jealousy and resentment could fester and cause serious problems later among her siblings.

I agree it seems unfair. But her parents may have good reason for doing what they're doing.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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