What does CODA stand for?

Child of Deaf Adults

A CODA stands for a child who has one or more deaf parents. It’s possible for a CODA to be deaf too, but typically, they can hear. This means they can connect to both the deaf community through their parent(s) and the world of hearing people.

The term CODA was coined by someone named Millie Brother, who also founded a non-profit organization with the same name back in 1983. This organization works to increase understanding of what it’s like to be a CODA and provides support to children who have deaf parents.

Living as a CODA who can hear is a unique experience. Their bilingual ability in sign language and spoken language often makes them a bridge between their deaf parent(s) and the hearing society. CODAs can be of any age, while the term KODA is specifically used for kids under 18 who have deaf parents.

The term CODA got more attention in 2021 because of a movie with the same name. The film’s protagonist, a girl named Ruby, has to juggle life with her deaf parents and deaf older brother.

There are many other acronyms used in the deaf community that represent different relationships with deaf people. Some of these include “KODA” (Kid of Deaf Adults), “OCODA” (Only Child of Deaf Adults – no siblings), “OHCODA” (Only Hearing Child of Deaf Adults – deaf parents and deaf siblings), “GODA” (Grandchild of Deaf Adults), and “SODA” (Sibling of a Deaf Adult).

Example for using ‘CODA’ in a conversation

Hey, did you know what ‘CODA’ means?

Yeah, it stands for ‘Child of Deaf Adults’.

That’s right! CODAs have a unique experience of living in two different “worlds”.

Definitely! They can hear, but they also understand the deaf community through their parents.