I love this video of a young deaf woman speaking in her own words about how she feels about being deaf.
Like this family, we opted for both signing and speaking with Lei. It turned out to be a good choice, I think. Lei’s language skills are a good indication that getting language into her brain any way we could was the right strategy. And it’s interesting that the young woman in the video doesn’t view being deaf as a disability, but she would like people to remember that she is deaf and communicate with her appropriately.
For me deafness is not a disability, but it is a challenge. As I have said many times to my children, everyone has challenges in life, and those may be visible or not. When I was a teenager and I would look at magazines and catalogs showing glossy photos of smiling models, I thought there were people in the world who had no problems (“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.” -The Princess Bride). I dearly wanted to be like the catalog people. But at some point I realized that the people in those pictures went home to their own problems at the end of the day, and I figured I’d keep struggling with my own, much as they might pain me.
When Lei gets home from school I’ll show her this video. I have a feeling she will appreciate seeing someone who has a similar challenge and is handling it with comparable grace.