I have a double whammy. Deafness runs on my mum's side of the family. My brother was born with worse hearing than me, and had a few surgeries and implants. He went the 100% oral route with speech therapy and an IEP. I was in a car accident when I was little and fractured my temporal bone, I was 5. This left me with severe loss. As I've gotten older the autoimmune disorder that runs in my mum's family has made my hearing loss worse. I'd consider myself postlingually deaf, but not like most postlingual folks who were much older when they had their hearing loss. I had learned to talk but a limited vocabulary and hadn't really learned to read until after I lost my hearing. This was the early 90s the advent of TC, which resulted in hearing aids, speech therapy, reading classes, etc. by 1st grade I was mostly mainstreamed, being pulled out occasionally for special classes. I had an aide on and off through elementary school, they always signed and talked, in reading classes there was an emphasis on SEE1 and SEE2. In regular classes I'd say there was some signed English use. By middle school I was completely mainstreamed and on my own, with my hearing aids and an FM system. It didn't help I grew up in a small mountain area where I was the only one within probably 5-10 years of me either way, that was Deaf/HoH.
I was born severely-deaf due to being born prematurely. Im the only one in my family who is deaf. I was raised oral and mainstreamed because I wasnt tested for hearing until I was 11. The audiologist when she discovered I could lipread quite well, assured my mother that with hearing aids I would be perfectly fine going to the same school as my hearing brother. Only at age 45, did I discover AllDeaf and the Deaf Community. Since then, I have come to realise there are many who share the same experiences as me and that I had other options to communicate other than speaking. I now regret not having the choice to go to Deaf school or having access to Sign language when I was young. Even though Im considering one of those 'oral success' stories.
I resent the struggle I have had my whole life to communicate solely to accomodate for the benefit of other people. It is downright hard work everyday. Even now, though it can appear that Im like everyone else in hearing circles, the fact has never changed, Im deaf. Its exhausting having to try be like everyone else or even get people to fit with me, because as soon as I open my mouth, they forget everything Ive told them in how to accomodate me. (The usual stuff: let me see your face -look at me so i can speech read, adjust seating, lighting, mouth movements, hands away from mouth, no gum, and preferably no beards or moutaches). Using Sign Language makes it obvious to others that Im deaf. I now identify as Deaf because all along, Ive since discovered that my response and perspective on life has been the same as in Deaf culture, I just didnt find that out until almost 9 years ago. Although I remain oral ONLY with my immediate family, i prefer to use Sign Language primarily but S.T.E.P, (see sigmnature) is an acceptional middle ground. I insist on visual communication now.
Yikes, that must have been hard on you and your parents. did you adapt it, being deaf?I had surgery to remove scar tissue in my inner ear and attracted a rare disease. The multiple surgeries to remove the infection caused my hearing loss in my left ear, and I was put on a PICC with 3 antibiotics that had a side effect of hearing loss, which resulted in the loss in my right ear as well.
Yikes, that must have been hard on you and your parents. did you adapt it, being deaf?
Hearing people will never, ever understand our struggles until it happens to them... However, everyone picks on everyone, no matter how good, sweet, mean, bad, rich, poor, popular, geek, successful, smart, you name it... someone is going to PICK on someone regardless. We live in a society that we follow everyone else instead of being our true form self. It has to start somewhere and it needs to stop. In the handicap ( mentally.physically) world... we actually get along with everyone, however, in the hearing world, now I am not saying all, but most will never ever understand the concept of accepting each person as a whole. They are always going to look at someone who is different and treat them as if they are not "HUman Beings" not like them. This is very frustrating that they can't see us as equals.It does because I was being harassed at work after I lost my hearing and I got so mad. I didn't get mad for myself though, I got mad because the things they were saying could negatively affect my nephew. and then I thought to myself if it's not okay for them to say those things about my nephew, why am I allowing it to happen to myself? Or to anyone?