Welcome to my blog! So, I will write today about my early childhood years. I am hearing impaired. I was born profoundly deaf. My parents did not know until I was almost a year old. I passed a hearing test in a small town in Vermont. I have excellent eye sight! Well, let’s back up here first. I have one lazy eye since I was five. ;) However, my mother told me when she took me to a doctor, the doctor was banging pans next to me to test my hearing. I saw. I did not hear. Actually, what brought my mother's attention was when my brother told her he thought I cannot hear. "She can’t hear". So, my mother still wanted another option, she drove me and my lovely, grandmother Rose to Boston in pouring rain in our 1976 Volvo. (A few years ahead, I tossed my raspberry ice cream up to the tan ceiling in the car.) My mother was nervous and panicking. My grandmother told her to be strong. Boston Children's Hospital, the audiology clinic tested and diagnosed me "Profoundly Deaf". My mother cried while driving, and my grandmother again told her to be strong. In 1980s, the hearing aid system was the look I wore (see the picture above) I was totally trending the style, huh?
After researches on hearing impaired education,(we did not have cell phones/iPad/Computers to google resources and articles back then...) My parents contacted resources and checked with school down the street from our home. They had a plan. I was mainstreamed at preschool while maintaining speech from two therapists- speech therapist and teacher of the deaf. I despised the speech therapist. I do not know why I did not like him. During summer time, my father had to convinced me he was taking me to a farm to get fresh green beans and honey sticks that I loved so much! We drove past the farm and to a familiar building, I knew it was a trick. Speech time. Maybe there were times my father did take me to the farm afterwards. I did love my teacher of the deaf. We continued through the summer, private sessions. She came to our house. I remembered clearly there was camera filming us and we had a VHS tape of my speech session with my mother, Sandy (the teacher) and me. My dirty blonde high pig tails and 1980s clothing style. I was eager to be with them, doing speech and to eat Reese's Pieces candy every time I said the words correctly. I begged my mother to eat them with me. She was sick of the candy. Now, I no longer eat them as I am sick of the candy. My mother would tell me stories how she took me to a grocery store, the customers stared at my large hearing devices and she was furious and heartbroken. They did not know why I had to wear them or what hearing impairment was. She cried during her lunch breaks praying to God and asking him to what to do with my hearing impairment.
I was very shy out in public and at gatherings. I was not shy around my family and friends. I loved to sing my heart out in the drive way. In the fall, I jumped in pile of leaves. I did not hear much of the leaves crunch sounds, I felt the crunch. In the winter time, my brother and I sled down the hill next to our house with our neighbors. I did not hear the snow crunches. I felt it by stepping in it. Crunch..Crunch.. On a calm day,I watched the giant maple trees blowing not knowing it had a sound of wind. I watched with my eyes. During my lovely childhood in Vermont, I did not hear very much. I came to understand the hearing world by seeing that I was the only one who wore hearing aids in our small town. I did not see many kids with hearing aids. When we all went swimming with my brother's friends, I knew I had to take off my hearing aids (back then, waterproof hearing aids were not available for swimming or showering). But again, I could not hear out in the water. It did not bother me because I was having fun and I always floated to look at the shapes of clouds of animals, faces, angels,etc. How calming and peaceful that was. I knew I was different when I was four years old. Especially, when my brother did not have to wear hearing aids and he did not have to do speech therapy like I did. He and his neighborhood friends played, none of them were like me. That was my observation at the age to understand my deafness. I watched people like my family and at the gatherings, their body languages and emotions. I spent time watching and studying the world especially the environmental and everyday sounds. I did not know rain made sounds, but I did feel the thunder during the thunderstorms. It vibrated greatly. My mother told me the angels were bowling during the thunderstorms. At a young age, I started the bridge. A bridge between hearing and hearing impaired worlds.
When I had hearing aids, it was very uncomfortable to wear the old walkman player look and then again, when I was four years old- hearing aids were updated to behind the ear like today but in a large size. The ear molds, I hated with passion. The days of ear waxes, air pressure in ear tubes, hearing aids falling off my ears, and batteries dying. It was worth to hear whatever I could at the time. When I was adventurous, I hid it under the couch fort with my brother. One day, I did and I did not tell my parents I had no hearing aids on. We went to Lake George to go to an amusement park when it was called, Great Escape (now Six Flags owns it). However, we went on a roller coaster. My parents realized I did not have my hearing aids! They spent hours searching and going through garbage. I had no idea what was going on. Later that night or so, when my mother was cleaning our couch fort; my hearing aids appeared.:) OOPS!
My journey started out in Vermont and few years later, my mother moved us to Beverly, Massachusetts for my education. She fought with Vermont to get our rights with my deafness and education. At the time, my district suggested to put me in a boarding school for the deaf. My parents could not face that and wanted to be part of my childhood and education. Quickly, my parents formed a plan. My father stayed in Vermont running a flooring business while my mother moved us to Beverly for my future. Another chapter was already unfolding.
Stay tuned! Stories will be revealed, keep checking on my blog site to be updated:)
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".