I’m hearing impaired, and I’m a teacher. And yes, I’ve encountered discrimination in my field. It’s not important to rehash the difficulties I’ve faced; it’s more important to remind people that disabled people are just that — people — and are not solely defined by their disabilities.
My teenage son, known on my blog as Amigo, is blind and has Asperger’s Syndrome. We’re quite a pair. When we go to a restaurant, I often read him the menu (if they don’t have one in Braille), and then he helps me place my order because I might not hear the server’s questions above the din of the dining room.
We have typical parent-child moments, too. He likes the TV loud. I keep saying, “Turn it down! If I can hear it clearly, so can you!” He tells me when a timer goes off or the dryer buzzes, just in case I’m not close enough to hear it. He doesn’t get the laundry out himself, darn it. I guess the teenager part trumps the helpful.
Sometimes he and I need small adaptations, “reasonable accommodations,” to achieve our goals. I need a phone that’s hearing aid compatible. I need students to speak up and speak clearly. Amigo needs his white cane, his Braille reading materials, and screen-reader software for the computer. But hearing or sighted, if you were playing Trivial Pursuit, you’d want Amigo and me on your team. We’re good. Very good.
We say that our family should buy lottery tickets. Due to luck of the gene pool, we have a fair amount of uniqueness in our home. My son’s type of blindness occurs in 1 out of 33,000 births. My hearing impairment is somewhat more common, but still not mainstream enough to be considered part of the norm. Beat the odds? I guess we did. Well, sort of. Maybe.
But folks, most of all, we’re people. We’re good, capable, intelligent people. My disability is part of me. I am a good mother, a good teacher, an intelligent learner and pretty darn good blogger. Amigo’s disabilities are part of him. He’s a delightful and multi-talented young man.
One thing is for sure: Don’t waste your time looking down on us — because it is a waste of your time, and ours. We’d rather be watching Jeopardy or going out for lunch!
About The Author:
Daisy The Grounskeeper writes the blog Compost Happens, where she focuses on taking care of “Home, Garden, Family, and Coffee.” Please go say hi!
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