I was one of the deaf kids. I always kind of felt separated from my so-called peers. I’d look up and people would be staring at me and laughing and I would have no idea why.
I’d go to use the bathroom and the other girls would circle around the stall I was in and chant, “stare, stare, I don’t care, you’ve got dirty underwear”.
Did they say this because I was staring because I had to read lips?
I think because I couldn’t hear people and I had to read lips, people thought I was staring at them and also kind of stupid because I wouldn’t always understand what they were saying.
Needless to say, childhood, being “mainstreamed” was kind of hellish for me.
I had to go to speech therapy for a long time. I think I was in fifth or sixth grade before it was decided that I could speak well enough to get along. I had particular trouble with the letter, “S”.
Once or twice a year, for reasons I didn’t know at the time, my parents would load me in a car. We’d go someplace, sometimes a house, sometimes a school cafeteria, sometimes a restaurant. What I remember about these times is relief. I was surrounded by other deaf kids. Other kids who knew what my life was. Matthew. Shelley. Robbie. Others whose names I do not remember.
Those were times I cherished. Times when I wasn’t on the outside. Times when I was just as good as everybody else. Times when I wasn’t ridiculed for not being able to hear.
I miss those kids. I lost contact with them. This makes me sad.
I am sure that those nights, what I thought was just play-times with other deaf kids, was probably a support group for parents of deaf kids.
I remember there was an auction one year, and my family donated a lot of things to the auction. I don’t know what the auction was benefitting.
I am so glad my parents took part in whatever group this was, just because it gave me the chance to interact with other kids who were like me.
I think I am a better person for my hearing issues, but yes, I’d love for it to go away.
I want to reconnect with the other deaf kids who were part of that group, but I have no idea how.
I limp along in my life today, and the hearing continues to be a detriment. One day. One day, I hope this can change.