A Student's Perspective
When I was 18 months old, my parents found out I had a hearing loss. I got hearing aids the next month. I went to a special preschool for two years and then to kindergarten in a program for deaf and hard-of-hearing kids. I also had home intervention (CHIP) from Linda Mustian for 2 years. After a year of kindergarten in the special program, I went back to my neighborhood school and did kindergarten again. (I don't remember all this: my mom helped me with this part.)
At 5 years old I tried to imagine what my life would be like with hearing aids. Would people make fun of me for having a vision and hearing loss? That was a question that I asked myself that first day of kindergarten.
"What is that funny looking thing?" everyone asked. I told them it helped me, and kids started to get more interested. They wanted to see how I changed a battery and how to turn it off and on. They also liked to activate the volume and play with it. I didn't let them see it too much, though.
In elementary school I worked hard, struggled sometimes, but did pretty well. I got extra help from Mrs. Stevens, my hard-of-hearing teacher, and from the OT, and a little bit from the Resource Room teacher.
In middle school I have been on my own. There is one other hearing impaired boy who is in my grade at school. We are good friends. I have been doing pretty well, but I have had my bad weeks! Overall, I have been making good grades and all my teachers really like me. I am in band. I play the trombone and the piano. This year I got to play on the 8 th grade basketball team for the school.
Outside of school, I participate in many activities. I am in the youth group at my church. It is a lot of fun. I am also in bowling league. It is a lot of fun too. My team is really good. My average is about 106. I like to do a lot of stuff for fun.
After high school, I want to go to college. I am looking at CU to be an engineer, because they have a good program.
The things that help me are having communication with my peers and my family. The ways that peers help me is that they can tell me what we talked about in class and give me stuff that was on the board if I didn't understand something. I also talk to my teachers after class, or go in before school if I don't understand something. I also talk to my hard-of-hearing teacher if I need help in class or am having any problems at school. Mrs. Stevens and my family are really good at supporting me. My family is very important to me!
The thing that makes it hard for me in school is background noise. That is a killer! It is hard to understand my mom at home when there's a lot of noise. I can ask my teachers for a better place to sit if I need too. Playing basketball is hard because I can't hear what the other players on the court are saying. But I still like it!
Mrs. Stevens always takes us to Host Day and Middle School Retreat so I can meet other hard-of-hearing kids. Those are fun things to do. We have also gone to Track and Field Day and Arvada Center. Sometimes we have parties, too and meet deaf students in college. Some things about being hearing impaired are hard, but mostly it is just who I am. If you work hard and have a good family, you can do well!
Alex Montoya is an 8 th grader at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, CO. He has been on the Honor Roll every semester of middle school and was voted School President by the entire student body for the 2003 - 2004 school year.