Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again- Main Subjects

See my post on Orchestra here. This is the letter I sent to all of my teachers in my core subjects, although I changed it slightly when I sent it to each teacher. I am taking two AP (the max offered) and the rest pre-AP classes, so this year should be fun. (ha!) I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases, so the email is somewhat lengthy. After sending this email, one of my teachers wrote me back telling me that there is a meeting about me scheduled for next week. I had requested to be present in this meeting, because I've found in the past they've never gotten the important points across (hence the email). So, as you can imagine, I'm not happy to find out from her that someone already scheduled a meeting about me. I mean, why am I the last one to know?! I haven't even heard from my Itinerant teacher of the deaf (not that she does much... or that I need her to, for that matter.) I did, however, pick up and test out my FM today. It works! (well, one one ear...)

Anyway, here's the email. Again, the ***ed out stuff is private and/or irrelevant.

Hi Ms. ***,

My name is L*** M*** and I am going to be in your ** period **** class. I wanted to let you know a few of things about me so that the year will run a bit more smoothly.

I wear a device called a Cochlear Implant in each ear. Rather than hearing naturally, I wear a microphone on the outside of my head that processes noise and then sends it to the implant in my head, which is then perceived as sound. With my cochlear implants, I can hear most sounds, they just aren't as clear and sound different to me than they do to you. Without my cochlear implants on, I am profoundly deaf.

I am completely oral and do not use (or know) any sign language. When you are speaking to me or the class, please try to talk in a somewhat loud and steady voice. I read lips, so I also need to have an unobstructed, lighted view of your face. I am constantly trying to fill in the blanks of what I didn't hear, so please try not to speak too fast! I also need to sit near wherever you usually stand while you are teaching, and it is also much easier for me to understand you and see your lips if you avoid pacing around the room. Please get my attention before you start speaking, because I may not notice at first that you are talking, and then miss the beginning of what you have said. If you are answering questions from students, please repeat the question back before answering it, because I often have trouble hearing students who are in various parts of the room. For example if John were to raise his hand and ask what page the homework is on, rather than just saying "Twenty four" say something along the lines of "The homework is on page twenty four." Otherwise I would have no idea what you meant when you said "twenty four" and it wouldn't do me much good!

I have the most trouble hearing through electronics, so if we are watching a video or listening to a tape, it must have captions. If not, I need a copy of notes with any important information that I need to know that was said. Legally, I cannot be tested on any sort of audio or video. Please also try to do your best to have a written copy of any instructions you give, whether it be on the board or on a piece of paper.

It is also especially hard for me to hear in noise, so if we ever have to break into smaller groups, it is much easier if I can work with my group outside in the hall, away from all the noise. If this is not possible, maybe we could work out an arrangement so I am in a part of the room that is quieter. I will do my best to remind you of this.

The last thing I wanted to let you know is that I use an FM system to help me hear a little bit better. I don't know if you have used this type of FM before, bu basically, you just have to hang a microphone around your neck, and your voice is wirelessly transmitted to my sound processors, so that it sounds a little bit louder to me. It's fairly easy to use, but I would be more than happy to come by **** [high school] today or Friday to show you how and explain it to you. It should only take a couple of minutes, but I would rather show you ahead of time, as it can get quite hectic on the first day of school (as I'm sure you already know!) Please let me know if there is a time you would like me to come.

Let me know if you have any questions at all, whether it be now or during the year. I am very comfortable talking about my hearing loss, and no one knows what I have trouble with better than I do!

Thank you!


  1. This is a STELLAR letter! You are such a wonderful role model and self-advocate. I am proud of you!!! Hope your first day goes well!

  2. Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I hope my first day goes well too ;)

  3. oh. my. gosh.

    IT's ILLEGAL for me or you to be tested on any audio/video in the classroom?!!
    If only I'd knew that...
    I could have saved me some points...

  4. Hahaha SLTA :D I know it's illegal for me, since I need captions. At the AGB convention there was a session that all the teens went to about this sort of thing... but now thatI think about it you didn't come 'til the next day. Guess that doesn't help much :P

  5. I was so impressed - I sent this link to my son's itinerent, spec ed coordinator, previous itinerent, and all of my friends/parents of CI kids. You are the self advocate I want my son to become. Thanks for sharing your blog!

  6. DH- Thank you so much, I am flattered! I must say I learned from the best.(my mother!) I didn't always advocated for myself, but over time I've learned that if I don't speak up, I'll just end up regretting it later.

    I'm sure your son will do the same thing someday, just teach him well :)

  7. Hi, I am mom to a little guy that just turned 1 and got his first CI. I am so impressed with your poise and self-advocacy. I hope my son deals with school as gracefully as you see, too. I also hope he takes as any AP classes and French (which I teach) ;). Thank you for sharing your experiences. It helps me know how I might need to help my son. I look forward to reading more of your blog! -Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen, thanks so much for commenting! I credit my success to my parents and I truly believe parental involvement is key, so I am confident your son will do wonderfully! Good luck on your journey, and please feel free to contact me if you ever have an questions about anything!


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