Written by Emma Claire Richards, 14
Congratulations to all of the children, adults, and families who struggle every day with a hearing impaired loved one. Today is our day!
I was born with hearing at birth in 2002, in 2005 I was diagnosed with a sensorineural hearing loss in which I wore hearing aids until they couldn’t help me hear anymore. Within the next few years, I became profoundly deaf and was implanted with cochlear implants by Dr. Nancy Young at Lurie Children’s Hospital here in Chicago.
With the help of Dr. Young along with Mrs. Lynn Wood, my auditory verbal therapist, from the Auditory Verbal Center of Wheaton in IL who gave me a chance at life by hearing again!
For all of the doctors, specialists, community teachers, advocates and my friends that once told my parents that I would have a hard life living as a deaf child, I may be shunned by not staying in the deaf community, people may give up on me, friends may turn their backs on me due to an impairment and disability, and the outlook as I grow older would be bleak, this is what I’d like to say to all of them… hear me now!
I am in 8th grade at McClure Junior High in Western Springs, Illinois. I live a normal life like any person with hearing except I have to work a bit harder every day to hear somewhat normal. I played the piano, I played the violin, I was an All-Star on my softball team, I was in my school’s play, I attend dance classes, I love to swim, I win awards for my art, I play on The Chicago Highlands Golf Club’s PGA, Jr. golf league and I am a competitive equestrian rider with the IDTCA and IEA. I love to hang out with my friends that believe in me, I love my parents for teaching me to be me and I love my brother that argues with me every day as if I was normal even though I can tune him out and turn my ears off.
I’m Emma Clare Richards, 14 “Nothing will hold me back, not even being deaf”!