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I am very happily married we have a son. My husband and I enjoy travelling and holidays abroad, we hold dinner parties and love entertaining.
I was born in 1960, in Stockport, United Kingdom. I lived with both of my parents and I have siblings. One minute my parents would tell me that I was deaf and the next they said I was playing up. My deafness was not acknowledged, I was punished for not answering when called by my mother, I wasn’t allowed the television volume to be raised so I could hear and when I asked what was happening I was shushed.
I took to reading, I love books everything but science fiction, which I find scary. When I left school and started my working life, I was treated really badly in various jobs. I was ridiculed, ignored or accused of being ignorant and worse of all being excluded because it is easier to ignore me than to make an effort to include me.
I started to write my book in 2012 when I finally got sick to death of seeing deafness and deaf people being wrongly portrayed on television and strangely enough during writing the book I had recourse to take my employer to tribunal for disability Discrimination.
I am currently very happy in my new job working with young children as an assistant in a Nursery and I love the way not one child gets frustrated or snappy when they have to repeat what they are saying or because I am repeating what they say wrong. It is a blessed relief to be able to be completely me among my work colleagues who recognise my deafness and make sure that I am included in all aspects of every conversation be it about work or social lives. I love it.
I am now happier than I have ever been both at home and at work.
About the Book
This book is my story of growing up being deaf and living among people who either didn’t have a clue or just pretended it wasn’t there.
I was born at the end of 1960 and I believe that my mother discovered I was deaf when I was a toddler about to poke a knitting needle in the electric socket. Apparently she shouted me twice to stop but I didn’t respond to her, so she ran to me and grabbed the knitting needle. She said I almost jumped through the ceiling when she grabbed the needle and this alerted her to the fact that something was wrong. Upon confirmation of my hearing loss, mother’s next act was to brush this information under the carpet and pretend it wasn’t happening. Hence my shame and embarrassment of the ‘stigma’ attached to deafness as mother told me more than once that you can see other disabilities such as blindness, the walking stick is a clue, and physical disabilities are obvious also but because you can’t see deafness those who are deaf are seen to be stupid, thick and not very bright. She informed me that I would never be as bright or as clever as my siblings.
I went to mainstream school and every September my mother called the school to tell my teacher to sit me at the front of the class, that’s as far as the acknowledgement of my deafness went. Unfortunately, at secondary school we had a different teacher for each lesson so I was able to sit at the back and try to keep a low profile. However, that isn’t really possible with being deaf as I never heard the teacher telling me to be quiet and earned the nickname “Trouble” for a) my constant talking and b) every word being heard by anyone in earshot, I wasn’t aware then, that I am incapable of whispering. Being deaf I find trying to follow what is going on around me can be very frustrating, I have (and still do) experienced some very embarrassing, hilarious, frustrating and miserable situations on a daily basis and seen how different people, including myself, can behave towards deafness. Oh the stigma attached to being deaf, I was called all sorts, ignorant, not very bright, irresponsible oh the list was endless and this mostly from my mother.
As I grew up between the 1960’s and 1980’s I learned to be ashamed of my “handicap” and I became adept at keeping it secret that I “had trouble hearing” and It wasn’t until I was 24 years old that I began to tell people I was deaf and then only if I really thought they needed to know.
and it must have had some bearing on how my character developed. I tried to keep a low profile at home as I was sometimes punished for not hearing and I was told that I had ‘heard something’ (referring to my deafness) and was playing on it.
This book tells how, I as a deaf person overcame numerous obstacles to achieve my dreams. I swallowed my pride aged 19 and started wearing hearing aids, and during my journey I discovered that I was ambitious and capable I also discovered that had I been able to hear properly during school years I would have passed all my exams with flying colours.
I developed a habit of taking a book with me wherever I went and at every opportunity I would sit and read, people automatically assumed that I didn’t respond because I was reading my school friends gave me another nickname “bookworm” and whoever wanted me made a greater effort to get my attention. A few years ago I learned that some friends thought I was paranoid because during conversations I would constantly nudge the person next to me to ask ‘what did he/she say?’ and ‘what was that?’
In group activities I get bored easily in when I can’t hear properly and I go off into my own world, fidgeting and amusing myself. I forget that because I can’t hear them, it doesn’t mean ‘they can’t hear me’. Consequently there was always something for me to get into trouble for. Nowadays I am happy to speak up and ask people to slow down or repeat something
During a work placement at the local fire station the fire safety officers showed much interest in how being deaf affected myself, my family and my daily life. They were shocked to learn that my two sons acted as my ears in case of emergencies. I have had school teachers ask me how I manage and for advice on how they should approach deaf children in their classes. There are very few organisations that actually have any deaf awareness understanding or training and colleagues I have worked with have behaved in dreadful ways towards me, even though it may be unintentional it is no less discriminating than when done intentionally. I believe there is a very large audience out there that could learn a lot from reading my story.