Hello everyone. I am back. I want to introduce myself again because I haven’t posted anything about my journey since 2015. My name is Julia. I am Deaf and have Cerebral Palsy. When my mom got pregnant, she found out that she was carrying triplets. I was born premature and had to spend three months in the hospital before I could go home. Unfortunately, my older brother and sister did not survive; therefore, I am a surviving triplet. Before I left the hospital, my parents found out that I was deaf because I failed my newborn hearing test. They also found out that I had Cerebral Palsy as a result of being born premature. I had a rough start in life. My doctors told my parents that I would never be able to speak/sign or to walk. I proved my doctors wrong and have been proving people wrong ever since.
I am the only deaf person in my family. I use American Sign Language for communication. I can speak and read lips, but it is not as effective for me because I can miss words in conversation. I am lucky because my parents and grandparents learned sign language when I was about 3 years old so that they could communicate with me. I do have two Cochlear Implants that help me to hear some sounds and to recognize when people are speaking to me; however, I sometimes get busy with college life that I forget to use them (plus sometimes it can be very loud and distracting during the day). My parents and younger siblings speak and sign to communicate with me.
My parents taught me not to use my challenges as an excuse not to succeed. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Unfortunately, my hometown didn’t have a lot of experience with kids like me (deaf with an additional disability) so we moved to get access to things that I needed. We moved to St. Louis, Missouri, Bowie, Maryland (I attended 2 different schools there), Austin, Texas, and now Hampton Roads, Virginia for me to get the education that I needed. Last year, I graduated with honors from the Texas School for the Deaf and now I am a first year college student at Hampton University. I am so proud to say that I am first totally Deaf student at my university.
People are always surprised with what I am able to accomplish. Growing up, I experienced bullying and discrimination from first grade or second grade through high school because of my unique challenges. I also experienced racism from eighth grade through my senior year of high school. Some people didn’t think that I belonged in a “normal” school environment. Others thought that I shouldn’t be a cheerleader or be in the school play. They don’t think that I should be in a University. I accomplished all of this because a found my own way to accomplish what I wanted. I am really enjoying the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) experience; however, I would be lying if I said it was easy. As the first Deaf student, there are a lot of things that my university has to get used to (like providing interpreters for all of my activities on campus). Still, it is the best decision that I make to attend my university.
I want to share my experiences with others who have similar challenges as me or know people who do. I will be honest about the good and the bad and hopefully, you, the reader, can learn something from my journey. Buckle up because it will be a bumpy ride. Thank you for your time to read this blog. Please subscribe so that you can be the first to know when I post something new. Have a great day and see you soon.