To the Classmates of My Daughter Who Is Hard of Hearing
Have you noticed her?
The petite and a bit shorter than average girl in your class? She is very quiet and usually only speaks when spoken to. She has long brown hair with beautiful blonde highlights and bangs, which she likes to hide behind. She may be tiny, but her determination is strong.
I think she feels lonely sometimes.
Have you noticed the color of her eyes, hidden behind her glasses? They are brown, but the shade will change depending on her mood and the color she is wearing. If you take the time to look into them, you can see just how beautiful they are and so much more.
She just wants to fit in.
Have you noticed that she sometimes hangs out with that group of kids in your school, the deaf and hard of hearing kids? Well, kind of, anyway. She signs with them, but her speech is very clear.
How much does she hear, you might wonder? Well, she plays the violin in the orchestra, so she must be able to hear something, you might say.
She is hard of hearing, and she wears purple hearing aids. She has trouble hearing in large rooms with poor acoustics and noisy environments like the cafeteria or gym. If you call her name, she may not hear you and you might think she is being rude.
But actually, she is very kind.
She walks as quickly as she can between classes, but due to her small size, three of her steps might equal one of yours. She hides a lot from you and the rest of the world in that tiny frame of hers. Maybe you noticed that she walks with almost an imperceptible limp, because she has a curve in her spine. But you probably have not seen the scars that she hides beneath her clothes and her hair. She will tell you about them, but only if you ask her.
Sometimes you might see her with wires sticking out from beneath her shirt. She hates the days when she has to wear the heart monitor or the blood pressure monitor to school. She keeps Motrin in her locker for her pain and a shy smile on her face to hide how she is really feeling.
She hurts sometimes, in a way many cannot imagine, both physically and emotionally.
Did you see her at the dance? She was absolutely beautiful and bold in navy blue. She even left her glasses at home. She seemed to feel beautiful and confident as she walked into the school, head held high, without a friend by her side. She found others like her and that night they danced and had a wonderful time.
Then Monday came, and again she was alone.
Like you, she just wants to belong.
Have you said hello to her in the hallway? Have you called out her name in a way that makes her stop and turn her head and look directly at you with those beautiful eyes, lit up with surprise and happiness?
You really should try to get to know her, because she is great fun to spend time with.
She has an incredible sense of humor, a quick tongue and a sarcastic wit about her. Have you ever heard her belly laugh? The one that is so deep that you are surprised it could possibly come from one who is so small. Her laugh is contagious and it has always been so.
You should really get to know her.
She has so much to offer and so much to say and she would be a wonderful friend to you… if given the chance. You will have to make the first move to encourage her to cross the bridge that connects her two worlds.
Yes, she walks between two worlds, one deaf and one hearing, but she does not fit neatly into either one.
She seems lonely sometimes, but she is strong that one, she really is.
She is smart. She can tell you about world events, her favorite books and the music that she loves to listen to alone in her room. She has so much to give to this world, if only you would give her a chance.
Please, invite her into your world.
The Mighty is asking the following: Describe your experience of not quite fitting under one specific diagnosis or a label your community identifies with. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.
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