Hear Cloe, is a blog written by the daughter of Marjorie Madsen Keilers, Director of our New Mexico chapter of Hands & Voices. In one of her recent blog posts, Cloe talks about:
I think that was the first time it really struck me that my speech and writing were impacted by my hearing loss. This situation was not the first time someone asked me if I spoke another language. One time someone asked me what kind of accent I had. The truth, I realized later, was that I had a deaf accent.
Upon further reflection, I discovered what was truly my first language. It happened during a start of school meeting with new teachers. I was asked to explain to the teachers what I heard and a the definition of a new language clicked into my head and I said “My first language is Garbled.” For a lot of teachers, that explained everything. I can hear, but I am not always hearing sounds that make up coherent words, even with the use of my hearing aids and FM microphone system. Most likely it is garbled that no one understands; sometimes even I don’t understand it.
Cloe also shared some tips on the importance of Self Advocacy which she summarized from Rachel Kolb’s TEDx talk:
1. “Find the strategies that work for you.” This could mean anything from sitting
in a certain spot in class or signing versus speaking. It does not matter what kind of
strategies they are or if it is the same as anyone else’s; everyone is different.
2. “Find people who support you.” Friends and family are people who fall into
this category. Teachers and classmates should also fall into this category (although in
that case, they would also be your friends, no matter how much homework teachers
gives you). However, some teachers and classmates don’t always support you. If they
don’t give you the slightest support, then do your best to avoid them. They are not the
people you want to be counting on.
3. “Invest in yourself.” This could mean getting hearing aids, or a sign language
interpreter, and whatever other tools you need.
4. “Learn how to express what you need.” This would mean asking for what you
need. You could ask for something as simple as a set of notes for a class, or speech
therapy, or (I find that this is the hardest) asking people to face you when speaking.
5. “Say [or in whatever communication mode that works for you] something:”
This is a reiteration of her fourth thought, but it is important, which is why she repeated it. You have to speak up in order to advocate for yourself. You cannot remain
And we especially like this one:
One last note to make on self-advocacy. Be patient with your AWESOME Mom, or Dad or guardian as you develop your self-advocacy skills. They have been advocating for you since you were a baby (since it is kind of hard for a baby to say anything in it defense except look cute). Sometimes it’s hard for them to accept you are growing up! And be sure to thank everyone who supported you!
You can read Cloe’s blog here: Hear Cloe