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Tuesday, 09 December 2014 00:00

Coping with Usher Syndrome in the US 1940's and 1950's to date

Written by  Molly C Corum
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Born profoundly deaf. 78 db and 83 db.  . ( 1948) Speech therapy started 1951. Had to be mainstreamed in kindergarten cause I was imitating the kids in a local deaf school. Absolutely no ASL anywhere.  Hearing aid ( body aid)  in 1st grade. Two BTE in 3rd grade.  Short story on my schooling.  We just did not talk about handicaps. My 3rd  grade teacher remembered my hearing loss. ( an OLD  friend of Mom's) . It took me years and years AND YEARS AND YEARS   to realize that people forgot my hearing loss.  ( that was a compliment but I needed  the help!!!)  Telling a teacher at the beginning of the year.  They totally forgot it. I never knew they were talking while they facing the blackboard and writing.  If students answered in the classroom. I was searching for them to hear/see what they said.  Hated it when the teacher said " I do not go by the book."   AWWW Geee,  listening. Some walked all around the room. I got a long neck from watching them. Tutors , we found some. But they were not with the school system. They would say  " I think this is important." Maybe my teacher did too. Very  very very discouraging. At church school 1st --5th grade. We had Spanish. Always had to start over for the new kids. 5th grade,  we learned The Lord's Prayer. Repeated 5th attending public school.   Later 9th and 10th, I took the required language. Spanish. Again, my tutor  in 10th grade had her method. ... All  of the above  in school for me  was " sink or swim."  Yeah I did go through a few depressions. ( I did not understand what was going on, or why I had these deep and sad emotions) . 
 
A HOH friend , 10 years younger than me. Speech is good. Tiny lisp.  Went to the Academy with all the nuns. They did  NOT want a failure on their record.  You bet they tutored her in Spanish the summer before school.  She knew exactly what to expect. Of course, she got on the Spanish Honor Society.  I found this out a few years ago.
 
Another friend , one year older than me.  You don't forget her hearing loss with her deaf voice.  She got A's in Spanish. 
 
I  still get irritated thinking about this.  I attended school like a hearing person.  Barely passed.  
 
I was a  plain little wall flower growing up. My Dad saw an outside activity. I started riding horses.  We later bought ( total of 3 horses  ,  one at a time) . I was showing American Saddlebred all over Florida!!!!!    Expensive, yes.  Dad split the monthly bill 3 ways. Dad, Mom and me, we 3 loved it. Showed 7th--12th grade.   I did not do too bad. Got some blue ribbons.  Dad 's goal was for me  to look back and think " yes I was good  at something!!!!!"  I really treasure my memories. Any competitive sport would do the same. Boost some confidence in us. 
 
All of this was just with the hearing loss.  Started noticing  blind spots in my mid 30's.  So my journey is not the same as your Molly. 
 
American's with Disability Act  has helped and there is so much more awareness . We have come a long and positive way. !!!!!!!
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