I became deaf at the age of seven from a number of illnesses that caused nerve deafness which could not be repaired. My hearing is profound deaf. When I went back to the “hearing” class after becoming deaf, I daydreamed because I could not understand a word.
When my family found out that I was deaf from the doctor, some of them cried. The only way I could get ahead in the education is to be outfitted with a hearing aid. We did not have the funds to get the aids. The Indianapolis school for the deaf offered me free aids, so we made the trip there. My mother did not like the idea of sending her son to school there as we lived in Fort Wayne.
Fortunately, Fort Wayne had a class for deaf and hard of hearing students. I was able to get my education through the mainstream. I had to lip read the teachers, take notes, and homework assignments to graduate with a B average.
After fifteen years as a factory worker in a number of business. I decided to gain a college education with an AS degree in Mechanical Engineering and BS in Accounting. I had interpreters throughout the college courses. I also took courses online.
It was not easy to get an engineer job as a deaf person. I had to find managers who were willing to work with me. I have been an engineer for the last 20 years. My accounting degree helped me to understand how the business functions in the financial department.
My present day engineering job is to design vehicle seat frames, power and hand jacks for trailers and RV. It is a blessing that my employer provides a videophone to call clients, employees, and suppliers. I wish companies would provide interpreters for meetings at my workplace. My church provides interpreters on the second and fourth Sundays.
An awesome project I have worked on was from one of my former employers, designing everything related to a Class A motorhome, from the chassis to the roof. Another project I worked on with a previous employer was designing robot-operated plate punching machinery. Two patents are pending for my designs in manufacturing. I also have a woodworking home business; the best project I’ve ever completed is creating a folding game case.
Lip reading is not the type of communication for me. I prefer sign language for speaker translation and talking. Even with my hearing wife, I sometimes misunderstand her and she cannot understand some words I say. She has no interest in learning signs so I continue to try my best to lipread.
Each deaf person has his or her own talent to excel in this country. I believe that higher education will grant better benefits as we have to work twice harder to excel in the employment department.
The greatest challenge for me as an intelligent deaf person is to work my way up to become CEO or CFO of a major corporation. I am willing to complete my MBA if funds are available.