Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Difference-Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

At that moment, I realized I had a conscious decision to make. I could get defensive, cry, storm out and say they weren't legally allowed to ask me about my hearing loss (were they? I'm still not even sure?), or I could put my advocacy skills to good use and actually educate them. So I put on a composed front and reassured them that everything would be fine, carefully answering each of their questions. I should note that they were really friendly and seemed to actually care and were genuinely concerned, but it was still a little overwhelming.They barraged  me with questions that included (but were not limited to):
  • How will you hear in (various listening situations described)? 
  • There's 2 teachers... one microphone. How will that work?
  • What if you and the other girl with the microphone are in the same class? Will it still work?
  • Will you tell us if you can't hear?
Apparently they had a really bad experience the one time they had accepted a deaf/hard-of-hearing student. My understanding is that she was oral but relied on lip/speech-reading quite a bit to comprehend what was being said. All year, the girl would stand in the back whenever they were teaching how to do skills for the CNA exam taken during the year as part of the class. The girl was going through a bad time in her life or something and refused to look at the teachers to lipread them. And of course, all year the girl never came to the teachers to let them know she was struggling, so they never really had any inclination. Their main concern was that I might be struggling to hear, and they just wanted to be sure I would tell them if at any point there was an issue so they could help me.

I could see where they were coming from, and it's certainly easy to think one individual is representative of an entire group, especially since she's the only one in the group of students with deafness they had met! It's a shame that it was a bad experience, but they were open enough to see that I wouldn't be like that. Although I felt I had handled the situation well and responded confidently, I was still extremely worried that I wouldn't be accepted because they would view the FM and hearing loss as an extra burden. As I have posted previously, I was ultimately accepted. The other girl with cochlear implants was accepted as well. At an informational meeting with all of the students, the teachers came up to me to be sure I heard everything okay. They really seem comfortable with the whole idea and I can tell that they care and want me to succeed. I brought up the whole stethoscope issue and mentioned that it was not yet resolved, but we were working to find a solution. They assured me that even if I can't get it to work, they will figure something out and work around it if we have to. Of course I would like to ultimately be able to use the stethoscope, especially if I end up following my current dream of becoming a doctor, but I am really glad to hear they're willing to work with me if it's not possible.

I am really excited for the class. I really do think it will be a great experience. Anyway, the main reason I shared this was to demonstrate how positively they reacted. They openly voiced their concerns and listened when I gave my input, and I do feel that they will work with, rather than against me to solve any problems that might spark up along the way. In the next few posts I will share another experience, but it's not a positive one. Actually, I'm still kind of in the "what should I do?" state. I have received quite a bit of advice and I am trying to figure out my next step.

Anyway.. stay tuned for part 4!


  1. For a 16 year old, you write amazingly well. Without a doubt, I'm looking forward to Part 4. :-)

  2. were they talking about me??? lol, i was a CNA over 3 or 4 years in a nursing home back in the very late 90's and who is oral profoundly deaf (HAs user who speechread) i did not use the stethoscope as I could not hear out of it at all and stethoscopes for the deaf were rare. we did have digital bp but I was not allow to use it . they wanted me to know how to use it manually so during the testing they asked me to demostrate and explain how to use it.

    i never used a FM during my nursing class though. it was paid by my employee and not an actual school so I do not know how this FM works in on-the-job training (i probably have ti buy my own) I just did the best I could to learn visually. I could see why this girl did not always lipread. she probably too busy soaking in everything she need to know and she can' t get that information just by listening and lipreading combined. too much details would be missed out if we watch the teacher all the time. some of us deaf learning by textbook, watching other people, speechreading, looking at pictures or items to figure out how it suppose to work on our own, etc. EVERYTHING we can take in to learn. its how we learn

    i should get my certificate renewed and go back to nursing assistant again.

  3. Wow, you handled that wonderfully. Looking forward to the next installment!

  4. Wow! Good story! People who truly care about our disability should be given extra pats. I always find that those who have children with disabilities have much greater understanding of handling people with disabilities.

    Speaking of Stethoscope, have you looked at Harris Communication's site? They have a selection of stethoscopes for hearing impaired here -

  5. Sounds like this was a positive experience - glad the teachers sought you out to determine how to best accommodate your hearing needs. If only all teachers were like that! Glad you're enjoying the program, which sounds perfect for a high school student aspiring to be a doctor!



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