I'm often asked "What inspired you to write about a hearing impaired teenager?". Well, It's true what they say about writing from true life, if it feels real then the reader will say "Wow!" and immediately connect to it. I wanted to offer something new for young readers, I wanted them to experience life from a different perspective. Quite often, when people meet me, they always ask a ton of questions of what's like to be severely hard of hearing. It just made sense to write it all down so that people of all ages can follow the journey and literally live my life through the main character Jessie.
"Why a teenager? Why not as an adult?" There is a lot of turmoil at this stage, it's quite a roller coaster ride which makes it more interesting. Everyone struggles as a teen since it's a big change in our lives as we discover more about ourselves and find our true personality. When you have a disability like a hearing loss, those intense feelings of isolation, confusion, and insecurity go through the roof. It's times like those that makes it very difficult to reach out for help. It's hard enough being a teenager, having a hearing loss makes it so much worse because that's a very social time in our life, a pivotal moment in time.
"How did you lose your hearing?" I was born this way. Mom had Ruebella (German Measles) when she was pregnant with me, as a result, my inner ear did not fully form. It means that I can't hear a thing without my hearing aids. My world is completely silent."Was it hard growing up with a severe hearing loss like yours?" Yes, very hard especially since I was the only child in the entire school with a disability like me. None of the teachers, at that time, had any formal training on how to deal with someone like me. They often made the erroneous mistake of assuming that I was not very bright when in fact I was smarter than most of the kids in class. The biggest problem with my hearing loss was that I had a hard time hearing speech and following instructions or conversations. Classrooms are often noisy which made it so much worse and much more difficult to engage in everyday activities. I had a lot of trouble with being able to socialize with other kids my age since I couldn't hear them very well. It wasn't easy, the kids in class often picked on me or played cruel jokes which often left me in tears by the end of the day. Some of the anger, pain and betrayal still linger in me from those experiences. You never forget those who bully you, especially from a young age, it leaves a mark that lasts the rest of your life.
Tags: bullying classrooms teachers kids ruebella silent "inner ear"