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Emerging Wings: Becoming Myself: A Bridge between the Hearing and Deaf Communities

For a deaf infant, the harsh reality is that his or her life will be dramatically impacted by the decisions and choices made by his or her parents. If the parents are deaf, then it is likely that infant will be immersed within the deaf ways and community where silence is cherished and sign language is used as a main communication mode. Whereas if the parents are hearing, then it is likely that infant will be immersed with the hearing ways and community focusing mainly on oral education with or without the assistance of sign language.

As these children grow up, they are able to make their own decisions and may choose to continue or discontinue the modes of communication that their parents chose for them. For example, I have seen many choose to learn sign language later in life simply to become more themselves and be part of the deaf community. This emergence of becoming yourself is when the deaf person is able to spread his or her wings by making his or her own decisions about what path their lives will take by choosing their communication mode and affinity to a community and/or individuality. This process is like a caterpillar breaking out of its cocoon, spreading its wings as a butterfly, and showing its beauty and strength to fly and take on this world. Hearing loss can be a blessing and a curse for someone's life journey.

This emergence story is my story.

by Melissa Lewis



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