I self-identify as….
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love playing tennis ever since I was 7 years old. I am on Women’s Tennis League teams in Los Angeles since 2013. I also enjoy reading, cooking, yoga, and being in nature.
Please tell us about your earliest years of life related to your hearing, identification etc.
My mother gave birth to me 3 months early and I was a premature baby. I do believe it’s the cause of my deafness. My mother discovered my deafness when I was at least 6 months old baby by calling my name loudly and made different noises to get my attention. I showed no response.
Please share about your relationship with your family and inclusion tips that you have found helpful.
I am the only Deaf person in my family. I grew up speaking, listening, and reading lips. I remember I could read lips and speak well as a young child but I was language delayed and language deprived as well. My family don’t sign at all, just few signed words such as sit, play, and other basic words. I could answer briefly whatever the question my family ask me. I had a difficulty with expressing my feelings and thoughts my whole life. I didn’t have a close relationship with any of my parents. I hardly had a deep conversation with my family and even with friends in the past. I consider my close friends as my family because of same language and culture we share, plus we share mutual understanding and respect. I am thankful and grateful of my family for always including me at family gatherings in despite of communication barriers. I have a Deaf 10-year-old daughter and her name is Kaylee. My daughter passed newborn hearing test. I spoke and signed at the same time to my daughter for two and half years. Until her doctor showed some concerns on my daughter’s hearing and speech, the result came after took hearing tests showed that she’s moderate to profound Deaf. Kaylee went to her very first school, Marlton School at age 3. She experienced being in mainstreaming classes for math, science, and social studies. Kaylee always makes family gatherings even more interesting and fun. My daughter signs ASL and she doesn’t speak. It encourages my family to learn ASL to communicate with her.
Please share a little about your education placement & extracurricular activities as a youth.
I attended Calvert St. Elementary School where it had an oral program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. I picked up sign language as soon as I entered Mulholland Middle School. In sixth grade, I took Deaf classes and it was too easy for me. For the first time ever, I was placed in mainstreaming classes when I was in 7th grade with no experience of having an ASL interpreter provided. It was the most hardest thing I ever experienced going through. It was a difficult challenge, because I was expert at lipreading but not reading the signs fluently. I had to work harder to catch up all of the classes. Until high school, I gotten used to being in mainstreaming classes and I learned to understand my rights as a Deaf student and my needs. I had ASL interpreters provided and I requested a note taker in class when needed with a special paper provided. I was in a Magnet Program from 9th to 12th grade years, and it was given a great education I’ve received. Additionally, I was on Girls’ Tennis team for three years at Granada Hills Charter High School. I also was on Deaf Academic Bowl for two years. I was first introduced to Deaf world and ASL when I was a junior in high school.
Please tell us about your relationships with DHH peers as a youth and how they impacted your life.
I had DHH peers as a youth from elementary to high school. Most of them went to same schools as me. I met many other Deaf people from different states through Deaf Academic Bowl, and it was an amazing experience. The benefits of having DHH friends are that we can understand each other, share great times and have a lot of laughs. We can be comfortable with ourselves for who we really are by communicating in ASL.
Please share how you/your parents prepared for a new school year and any Tips for Teachers that worked for you.
Be a Visual Teacher. Use different colors to emphasize the information. Provide transcript ready before watch the video in class, and put Closed Captions on beforehand. The seating is best to set up in a semi-circle. Request for a note taker before start a lecture, unless provide lectures in PowerPoint as a visual support.
Did you attend your IEP meetings? What memories do you have of your IEP, goals and services?
Yes I attended IEP meetings as a youth. I vaguely remember when I start going to IEP meeting. My role in the meeting was a student, just sit back and watch. I didn’t really understand IEP meeting fully. I was asked if I need more time during taking a test and a need of having a note taker in class. Now I know the expectations in the IEP meeting, to ensure to meet all the needs in order to receive an education best as possible.
What type of technology, apps or products for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals do you use?
Back in my old days, I had a computer, a printer, and a dial-up internet, plus TTY. I used a computer and TTY on daily basis. Compares to now, there are many resources you can access to get information easily. Back then, there were videos in the internet have no captioning. I had a travel size of clock alarm with vibration, to place it under pillow.
Can you tell us a little about your college experience and how did you prepare for college? Any tips?
Actually, I was not prepare for college while in high school. I had no idea what to expect and what to prepare to go to college. I was in a Magnet Program for four years in high school, and I had a good GPA. I only knew two colleges: Pierce Community College and CSUN. I only applied CSUN and I got in with two students I graduated with. I was very fortunate. I had VR support to cover tuition and books, plus I had Financial Aid as well. I lived in a Deaf dorm in my freshman year. There was a tram by the dorm that takes you to a campus. It was a fun experience. The challenges I’ve experienced was managing my time for studying and social life. Being around good people that gives support and comfort can make you feel anything is possible.
Please share a little about your career and any tips for someone considering a similar career?
I have two jobs as an Instructor Aide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing and an ASL instructor in a language school. The list of academic majors the Vocational Rehab can support are not many. I felt more drawn to Liberal Studies even though I couldn’t picture myself as someone teaches. After several years of experiences in a teaching field, I enjoy teaching and I am still exploring my new interest. The tips I have for youth is to have experiences as many as you can get, do a lot of volunteering, and listen to your heart what make it sparks. The experiences, ideas, and joys will navigate your interests and passions.
Please tell us about your relationships with DHH peers as an adult. When meeting a new person what script have you found helpful when telling them that you are DHH?
Yes I have DHH friends in my adulthood. Families can meet and socialize with DHH adults at social events. When I meet a new person, I will ask for their name and where they are from. After introduce myself, I will ask them if they are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
What were some of strategies that your parents, teachers or DHH role models taught you that helped you to be a confident independent person?
Gaining experiences and knowledge brings me a great confidence. Communicate well, express clearly, and show patience and kindness. I use paper and pen or texting in phone to communicate with a hearing person, to have clear communication. Even though I can speak, I rather save my face and time.
Most DHH children are born to hearing parents. This question may help parents see the world through their child’s eyes. Please tell us about your day to day life experiences as a DHH adult.
To be honest, my life was boring being around my family. They don’t sign at all and I felt very isolated and lonely at home. I’ve always wished for my parents to put effort with care and sign with me from their heart. Being the only Deaf person in the family, I hardly talk to them even over texts or emails. I gave them my relay number along with Wavello app. They have different ways to contact me when needed. I learned to be okay with it and I decided to focus on my own journey by healing, growing, and reinventing myself. I have a Deaf family of my own.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud of myself where I am now. I fought hard for many years to overcome fear and obstacles, healed my wounds and scars, and build strength and self love.
What tips and strategies do you have for communicating with a DHH person?
Be patient and kind. Write down on a paper or in text or show some gestures.
Favorite quote? Final comments?
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world.” by Buddha
Let’s go out with a bang! Complete this sentence to debunk a misconception about Deaf or Hard of Hearing people. “People may be surprised to know that I…..”
can write backward in handwriting.