I enjoy traveling, learning, music, reading, genetics, photography, and playing sports.
I was born with a profound bilateral hearing loss due to Connexin 26 but my hearing loss was not diagnosed until I was 20 months old. I grew up signing SEE2 (Signed Exact English 2) while attending speech therapy. I attended schools in 4 different districts and had very different experiences with attitudes towards hearing loss during my time at each district.
I was mainstreamed with sign language interpreters and CART captioning. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Genetics and became an avid Jayhawk fan. I completed two undergraduate summer internships in Michigan and South Carolina. I spent three years in New York City where I completed my Masters in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College. I spent two and half years employed as a genetic counselor before becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.
After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College I decided to get a cochlear implant (CI). My surgery was March 5th, 2009 and my CI was activated March 23rd, 2009.
I decided to go bilateral after realizing how much I missed hearing out of both ears (I had always worn 2 hearing aids growing up). My second CI surgery was July 22nd, 2011 and was activated August 9th, 2011
My CI journey has been different than what most people read about. I fall into the category of people who gain the least benefit from their CI due to my hearing loss background. I cannot understand speech nor can I always identify what I’m hearing. I can hear when a person starts talking which alerts me to look at them so I can lipread them. I enjoy music and can identify simple sounds in quiet settings.
I enjoy hearing and silence. Sometimes I want to hear everything and other times all I want is quiet time. I never take my CI for granted and am constantly amazed at what I can hear with it yet I am thankful it has an “off” button.
I like being able to hear and I like being deaf.
Your blog is beautiful! I don’t know recently you updated the background/title, but it is awesome. Anyway, let’s arrange a Skype date sometime soon!
Thanks Sarah! I’ve been having a blast reading about your travel adventures! Miss you too….
Kelly – I’ve nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog Award. Please read the nomination announcement on my site here: http://lipreadingmom.com/2012/07/27/lipreading-mom-nominated-for-blogging-award/. Blessings and keep up the wonderful work!
Shanna / LipreadingMom.com
This is Ashley from Mobility International USA, and we’re looking for more stories and photos of international exchange travelers who are Deaf or who have disabilities. I’d love to include your Peace Corps story and photos on MIUSA’s website (www.miusa.org/ncde) if I may. Can you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org? Thanks!
Emailed you! 🙂