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I’m Not Deaf, and I’m Certainly Not Dumb!
A hearing loss can present many obstacles in one's life. I have faced many issues throughout my life, many of which affected me deeply. When I first realized that I was hearing-impaired, I didn't know what it meant. As I grew older, I came to understand why I was different from everyone. It was hard to like myself or feel good about myself because I was often teased. However, I started to change my attitude and see that wearing hearing aids was no different than people wearing glasses to see.
I attended the BOCES Program for the Hearing Impaired for eleven years. I initially liked BOCES but later grew to dislike this program. The teachers often made me feel incapable of doing what the "normal kids" were doing. I wanted to do more challenging things! I remember that one time I asked one of my teachers if I could take a Spanish class. Her reply was "NO!". She didn't think I could handle it because I had a hearing loss. I was persistent and took the class anyway. I did very well. I proved her wrong. But above all, I proved to myself that if I wanted something enough, I could do it. It was a great feeling!
During my junior year of high school, I was transferred from the Boces Program to East Meadow High School. This was an exciting time in my life! I was finally going to attend classes with "hearing" students. So many emotions filled my head. I was happy but, on the other hand, I was scared. I thought these kids would tease me and not accept me for who I am. When I went into the classroom, every student looked at me as if I were different, but they liked me anyway. Much to my surprise, within a couple of days I had made friends. I quickly realized that they didn't think of or treat me as I were different. They saw me for who I am on the inside, not a person with hearing aids on the outside.
Although I have a hearing problem, it doesn't stop me from living the life of a teenager. I enjoy doing things with friends and I am involved in school activities. I had the opportunity of joining Key Club this year and participating in their community-related services.
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