Growing up Deaf

Julie Spitz

I remember when I was growing up, it was a very challenging childhood because I could neither speaks nor read or write. At first, when my parents found out that I was profoundly deaf, the doctor told them that I would never speak. That made my parents feel very upset and discouraged. My mom knew she would find a way to prove them wrong. She researched all types of special schools and many speech therapists. Finally, she found an amazing and gifted teacher from Denver and hired her to work for several families with deaf children. We started a deaf school in Dallas called “The Talk Center” which specialized in oral education for hearing impaired children. The Dallas Cowboys participated in fund raisers for us. I was in a commercial and was also featured in an article for “Woman's Day Magazine” back in 1991. My Mom wanted to create more awareness for Oral education for the deaf community. She wanted to provide help to improve children's oral language skills because Dallas public schools did not offer oral education programs for deaf students back then. My mother tried to mainstream me into the hearing world, however, I was not ready to be in a regular school with hearing kids yet. So, she sent me to a boarding school, “St Joseph Institute for the Deaf" in Saint Louis, Mo. I remember my experiences learning orally and visually as well as learning to read and write. I was glad that I had cochlear implant surgery when they were first approved by the FDA. This was very helpful and enabled me to learn more effectively than I could with hearing aids alone. I am sure the other kids were homesick because they missed their homes and families. I felt the same way. In 1998, I had to move back in Dallas. My mom found a special program for the deaf at the Richardson public school called “Arapaho Elementary”. I was involved with a Deaf Education program that was interested in teaching oral communications. I noticed that the difference between boarding school and public school is that Public school is free education and has more kids than in the deaf schools. Also, I have noticed that It helped me to get ready for the real world before I joined high school. I was the first student to join the Dallas Academy with regular, hearing kids without attending a deaf program anymore. My first impression was that I became very confident, and popular. I loved to be around the students. I have grown so much in a few short years. I have grown more independent, developed greater confidence and learned to talk, to read, and write. I wanted to thank my parents for supporting me all of those years. I am very determined and persistent. In conclusion, I would do the same thing to get the results that I have. I want to help children with disabilities to go through their challenges. They need guidance to help them to become an independent, confident, and more comfortable going to school without dropping out.