Tag Archives: Disability

My Stubborn Dilemma

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hea...

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hearing This symbol indicates individual(s) who is deaf, hard of hearing, or having some degrees of hearing loss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey guys! I know it has been forever since I’ve updated my blog, but the other day something happened and I felt like it was very appropriate to tell you about it!

Thursday, I undertook the task of “biting the bullet” (at least that’s how I felt) and asked for assistance from my university. I live by myself and I wanted to ask for assistance in getting an alert system for my apartment. I never like to ask for help and I get easily embarrassed when I do. I hate feeling like I’m needy or helpless and that I am left to another human being to fix my own problems.

I know, I am your typical male in wanting to fix my own issues even when it may be beneficial to ask for help.

Getting back to the story, I went to the office of disability services in order to look into possibly getting an alert system for my apartment. I have never registered with the office of disability services, and they never even knew I was on campus. When I called it obviously did not please them that I hadn’t registered. I had always hated the idea of the label “disabled” pinned on my file, or even on my life.

I know, asking for help doesn’t make me disabled, but I’ve always been a very independent person and I’ve never wanted to think of myself as a somewhat lower class citizen, so I haven’t registered. Even through high school, it was somewhat difficult for me to accept that I was a little bit different than everybody else. Thursday though, it was the idea of actually registering with the “Office of DISABILITY Services” that completely freaked me out. To the general public, the word disabled carries a negative stigma with it that I don’t want associated with me.

Apparently the alert system will cost about $3000, and I will have to move into another apartment in order to receive it’s benefits after I’ve registered. They told me that I need to consider a signer or a professional note taker because all of the other deaf people use it.

Honestly that frustrates me. Yes, I understand that they are trying to help. But not every deaf person fits their cookie cutter definition of “deaf”. That’s what I’m trying to prove to people by going to school, holding a job (several actually!), and being a mainstreamed student.

I feel like people needs to expand their belief system a little and understand that not every person is the same. The lady went on to say that I was “hard of hearing”, not “deaf”. Okay?

I was a little frustrated to be labeled by somebody who has no grounds to speak on the subject. I really have a problem with people passing judgements on another person without any prior knowledge. This applies anywhere in life, not just with deaf people.

The other day when I actually wrote this post, it was fuming with anger. I deliberately waited to post it so that I would not post something inappropriate. I was irritated with the fact that a person who didn’t know me took one look at my life and labeled me as deaf who needs a signer amongst all kinds of other services. I was mad that she looked at the outside of me and labeled me instead of looking at the actual me and finding out who I really am.

I’m afraid that that happens too much in life, I catch myself passing judgements all kinds of people even when I don’t know them. This experience has opened me up to trying to actually get to know different people in life. It has also opened me up to the ignorance of people in society sometimes, but hopefully being patient will help them in the long run.

Have a great week!

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An Interesting Thought

Helen Keller sitting holding a magnolia flower...

Helen Keller sitting holding a magnolia flower, circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Being blind separates you from things, being deaf separates you from people”-Helen Keller

Now, I’ve never experienced the blindness part of this quote but I can honestly speak for the second part of this quote and she is spot on about this.

There are statistics out there that say that deafness can lead to depression, it can lead to separation, isolation, loneliness, amongst other things. I’ve also read articles stating that people with disabilities experience increased drug use due to the stresses from their disability. I can speak only for myself when I say that I have none of these symptoms, but I can definitely see and relate to why people with a hearing loss are experiencing this.

One of the reasons that people may feel isolated is that they may be the only person they know that is deaf, and that can be pretty hard. Luckily I have some friends that are deaf, but I don’t see them on a regular basis. For somebody that feels the need to have friends like themselves, this can be a difficult to undergo. I have always been thankful for the people, teachers, professors, and friends around me.

Another reason that somebody can feel depressed is that the people around them just don’t know how to respond to them. I myself, have had several people in my life baby me and treat me like I’m a special ed. case. That can be very embarrassing. If I wasn’t as “joking about the deafness” as I am, I’m sure I would receive this weird treatment much more than I do now.

Something that separates you from people is just the sheer fact of not hearing somebody’s voice. This is something that everybody takes for granted. Think about it, I’m sure most of the readers of this blog now awake to a screeching alarm clock, but what woke you up in elementary school? Your mother’s voice. That was impossible for me. I can’t hear anything because I don’t sleep with the hearing aids in, so I have to wait until I put them in and get used to the sound before I can comprehend everything.

I have people get mad at me all the time for not hearing them, they think I’m not listening. Sometimes I’m not, lately most times I really can’t hear them. It’s easier to just let them get mad.

When I’m talking one-on-one to somebody, I do great in conversation. I can read their lips and comprehend the entire conversation. But when a second or third person is added to the mix, this easy conversation with simple reading of lips instantly becomes as hard as solving a Rubik’s Cube while blind folded. That is when I start being quiet in the conversation and I “listen”, when I’m really just thinking to myself, “how the heck can I get away without seeming rude?” The best way to act engaged in these types of conversations is laugh when everybody else does. I know, it’s wrong, but I can’t follow the lip reading fiasco. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Many of you may have already known this, but I have never let my deafness kept me from having a social life. There is no reason why any other disability should keep anybody else from having one too.

Have a good week people.

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