Raising Deaf Children with Dreams, Success, and Confidence.
My Journey to Believe
~ while neglecting the content curriculum ~“Write about your dreams. I’m not talking about playing football kinds of dreams.
I’m talking about college or what you want to do when you grow up.”
From just about everyone:
~ Many times spoken by teachers, parents, and specialists. ~
“I’m Deaf and I can do anything. Deaf and Hearing should be equal.”
Bullying deaf children happens on a daily basis. Whether it’s society, their teacher, their parents, a hearing peer, or a neighbor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a deaf school or a public school. I’ve also come to see that it doesn’t matter so much if you use ASL, hearing aids, CI; talk or not. It’s an issue all deaf children, and even adults, face. For years, deafness has been seen as a disability. For years, deaf children have been told, or have just even felt, they can’t succeed.
I later asked my son, “What helped you respond so confidently to those kids? You knew they were wrong and weren’t scared to tell them so. How did you know that?”
“That poster.” He answered.
He’s talking about a poster my husband made entitled, “We Succeed Because We Can.”
When my deaf son was 5 and was asked this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he answered, like every other 5 year old boy, “A fireman, or a cop.” You can see his fun cop story on our YouTube channel.
I was tempted to tell him, “That’s not possible because you can’t hear.” Luckily, I didn’t, even though this is one of those areas where society has set rules that normally make it hard for deaf people to serve in this capacity. I let him dream. He still loves firemen and policemen, though his ambitions now include construction, science, engineering, forestry service, being a comedian and story teller, and more.
I am privileged to have married a dreamer. He knew the meaning of “We Succeed Because We Can” more than many and is sharing that very message. Through this amazing poster, he introduced me to 48 successful Deaf adults of the 21st century. He taught my children about these people, who have succeeded and thrived in careers often thought impossible for a Deaf Person. It is their stories that gave my son the confidence to stand up for himself.
Seth Terkhorn, Fireman
Seth grew up and became a volunteer fire fighter during high school. He liked helping out, giving back. When he went to college at RIT, he applied to volunteer there. His first application was denied, but he went to the next town over.
“He drives the department’s rescue truck and responds to house fires, helping set up hoses outside the structures. He can lip read well and has even been more of an asset when deaf patients have been involved in car accidents—he asked in sign language whether the victims were hurt.”
And he’s not alone. The article notes there are around 50 deaf firefighters nation wide. (http://www.ntid.rit.edu/news/deaf-firefighters-answer-call-serve)
Keith Nolan, Army ROTC.
TEDx: Keith Nolan, Deaf ROTC Soldier, Works To Change Military Acceptance Rules, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/keith-nolan_n_1316422.html.
Real People, Real Stories, Real Success
“True success lies in discovering what you love to do, and finding someone to pay you to do it.”
So.. Let them dream.
Then give them the skills the need to achieve,
no matter how long it takes;
no matter what we have to fight for.
Get your own We Succeed Because We Can poster and start teaching your deaf child and students today about Success!