This is the question I hear after I tell anyone that I have hearing loss. The surprise that comes with the question really proves that all my years of speech therapy have benefitted greatly.
I was born with bilateral hearing loss which after multiple tests were completed and misread, I finally got diagnosed at 16 months of age. Therefore, causing me to be 1 ½ years delayed in my speech. My Mom and Dad did anything and everything to make sure that I did not struggle socially nor academically. As soon as I received my hearing aids, I started doing speech therapy 2-3 times a week. My parents would drive from Cullman to Children’s in Birmingham for every single session. I developed a strong bond with my speech therapist and loved her and speech therapy interventions. We threw her a wedding shower with other hearing loss friends from Cullman. I have even been to Dallas to visit her since she moved there while I was young. Once I entered Kindergarten, I started speech through the school system. After years and years of speech, I FINALLY completed and graduated from it in 6th grade before entering middle school.
My main goal during speech therapy that took the longest to accomplish was my ‘S’ and ‘Z’ sound. Having hearing loss had little-to-some effect on my life. I only struggled in school in 2016 after I had surgery for a cochlear implant that summer. Getting used to a new hearing device was tough, but I had no help or motivation from my audiologist. I then just stopped wearing it and only relied on a hearing aid in my right ear. I was a cheerleader, I was a part of NHS, even a member of the Key Club. I am actually a 2x State Champion in cheerleading. I graduated from Cullman High School in 2017 and immediately went to Wallace State community college and prepared for the OTA program. I worked hard throughout those 2 years and graduated as an OTA in 2019. If it wasn’t for speech therapy, I would have not been able to successfully accomplish what I have. I am very thankful for my speech therapists throughout the years and all their help.
Parents: If it is recommended that your child should be evaluated for speech therapy, please don’t hesitate! Early intervention is KEY, and the results can be LIFE CHANGING!