Expecting – but not hearing lossMarch 14, 2016
Yolandé in die pers… (Desember 2016)December 14, 2016
I kind-of grew up with hearing loss. I went to a primary school in a small town and a friend of mine had severe hearing loss and used two hearing aids. It was nothing new to me – and somehow I never thought less of him, never thought he was inferior or not as smart as I were. I do not remember him being made fun of, but then again I could have missed it. He probably didn’t miss it and probably remembers all of it.
I can only speculate why I did not ever feel the need to “judge” or make fun of him – I have far too little psychological knowledge to know whether some people are simply naturally more inclined to be nasty to others, or might it be your upbringing that determines how you see others, their abilities and disabilities. The old theory of “nature vs nurture”
How others – especially children see disability has so much power… The way they see that person is the way they will treat that person, and the way a person is treated is what they remember – it influences the way you see yourself for the rest of your life. It has the power to influence a person’s future forever – the rest of that little person’s life.
“I’ve learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel…” Maya Angelou
This is a topic that is so close to my heart, and a few days ago I suddenly realized once again how cruel the world can be…
How a 10 year old has to deal with a class mate telling her that she is not as smart as her – due to her wearing hearing aids…
How a beautiful blonde 10 year old girl do not want to get a cochlear implant (which could help her significantly) because her classmates will make fun of her even more…
How an extremely smart 10 year old girl, with an academic average of 95% need to deal with judgement on the playground while she actually needs to be a child – PLAYING on the playgorund.
Rhodene, a mommy of a little boy (Declan) that received a cochlear implant wrote the following piece:
Your daughter notices Declan first. She tries to catch another glimpse through the aisles with big curious eyes. Lucky for her we end up in front of you in the queue. You also notice but quickly look away. When she innocently asked what that is on his head, you give her a deadly look and try to turn her the other way. Everyone can hear you hissing KEEP QUIET!!!! Ironically, a deathly silence follows. Only the peep-peep as the cashier scans the other customers items, while looking at us out of the corner of her eye. Very uncomfortable right? Why don’t we turn this into a learning opportunity? Let me tell your little girl this gadget allows Declan to hear. Allow me to teach her to be grateful that she can hear you sing “Pop goes the weasel” to her in the bath. To remember the girls who couldn’t hear the smoke alarm in the hostel. Let me amaze you with what doctors can accomplish today. That a disability isn’t a death sentence. May I please tell you how incredibly proud I am of him??? Looking forward to see you in the queue next time…
Rhodene, you said it so perfectly… Let’s educate our children – let’s teach them how lucky they are. Let’s teach them that not being disabled is a blessing – but being disabled is not a death sentence. That we should accept and embrace people that is different to us. That we should be thankful for our abilities, see and treat others as equal to ourselves… Because they are no less.
Let’s educate the adults of the future, our future leaders – our next generation. It is our responsibility as parents, teachers and adults.