I. Mark Drolsbaugh is not only a fantastic author, but a real inspiration. He has struggled with his deafness for most of his adolescence. In this book, Mark tells his story starting as a young boy that was hard of hearing to a deaf adult. He struggled with his identity not knowing, but trying to figure out who he truly is. He was not born deaf; he gradually lost his hearing. When he lost his hearing completely all he ever wanted was to be “normal” and fit in with the hearing crowd. He had to figure out who he really was all by himself through many different experiences. Before he used to think that his deafness was a disability rather than a difference. Meaning he was broken and needed to be fixed. Now he knows that his deafness is a difference rather than a disability. Meaning he is still human he is not some alien from another planet. He is the same as you and me the only thing he can’t do is hear and there is nothing wrong with that. Throughout the book he slowly ,but surely started to gain self confidence and realized that he didn’t need to be fixed. He is finally accepting who he really is. Which is a Deaf man who loves being Deaf and loves being involved in the Deaf community / Deaf culture.
II. Mark was born hearing, but around the start of the first grade became hard of hearing without even realizing it. The incident that happen at the school during the show and tell is where it all began. He found out that he was lip reading most of the time. His hearing grandparents are the ones to first find out that he hard of hearing and gradually going deaf. He was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. His grandfather took him to get more tests done and when they were done he sided with doctor that they should enroll him in speech therapy. Mark felt taken aback by his family reaction to his deafness. He felt “deafness is bad. I am deaf. I need to be fixed.I must be like them, no matter what because deafness is bad.”
School was very difficult because he could understand was going on in class. He didn’t tell his grandparents at first because he wanted to fit in so badly that he rather suffer in silence even though he felt differently. He spent years being lost and having to work ten times harder than everyone else. In the ninth grade he finally got an interpreter. Mark did not want an interpreter because he was trying to blend in even though he didn’t blend very well. When he first met Emily he wasn’t happy at all because she was only speaking,but when she starting it made him feel right at home. He was no longer lost in conversations he could be understood by just signing; it was a tremendous relief. Mark had another interpreter after Emily left named Deborah she taught him a lot and his signing skills got even better while she was his interpreter.
After graduating, got job at the supermarket he wasn’t getting what he needed so he took a job offer from Linda to work at PSD. That’s where he learned a lot about the Deaf community and Deaf culture. He only worked there for a short period of time because the dorms were being shut down (because there were not enough students). So, after he lost his job he decided to transfer to Gallaudet University. Transferring to Gallaudet University was the best thing he could have ever done. He made many friends and he no longer had to try and fit into the hearing world, he could be completely himself. He can finally have meaningful conversations with people who saw him as the equal and not people who would make him feel inferior. While being at Gallaudet he was learning leadership skills and he found a new self confidence which helped him speak up for himself.
III. There are numerous amount of things to consider when raising a deaf child. First, there is more to the story than what the doctors tell you. If you want the best for your child take a look at all sides of the story. If you hear from hearing doctors you are only going to get hearing opinions. Ask to talk some Deaf professionals they will give a whole dynamic to the story because they can reach your child in a way that no else ever thought to. The second thing to take in consideration is that your child doesn’t have to be either/or. He or she can have a cochlear implant and still use asl. The will leave you think that you have to make a choice on whether you want your child to have a cochlear implant and learn how to speak with no asl or no speaking and just use asl to communicate. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The third thing to consider for parents of deaf children is how long you wait to start to teach your child language. If you wait to long, there is more of a possibility that your child’s brain will have to deal with more damaging effects from being deprived of language. There is no guarantee that the cochlear implant and speech therapy will work. All infants can learn sign language hearing or not. This will give you you a better chance to figure out what your going to do for your child without letting them fall behind so early in life.