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Throughout my schooling years, I have always encountered stigmas, prejudices, and misunderstandings. I want you to know what these kinds of negativity will do to the kid growing up. First of all, it is not the child’s fault that he/she was born deaf. I would use some stigmas I faced and I hope it would never happen to the child out there.

While I was growing up, I had to go through years and years of speech therapy. Because my speech was too vague for other people to understand. It is compulsory for deaf children who are learning to talk. A huge chunk of the parent’s time and money goes to the medical treatment of their kid. During that period, I have been made fun of because of the way I talk. They might come and say to me now, it was for fun. But no, it is never fun for the kid who is most insecure about the way she talks. Of course, the kid can be rude. They have no filter and can straight away ask questions. But when an adult does, it hurts more.

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To explain, take an egg for example. The parents try to crack the egg a little by little encouraging her to talk. Praising her for whatever she has done. The kid smiles knowing that she has made her parents proud. When she is sent out to school, the kids make fun of her. The teacher says “You can’t talk, you are rather loud and bothersome”. It makes the child squirm back to the egg. Unfortunately, all the parent’s efforts are lost. And they have to prod the eggshell and encourage her.

I’m always self-conscious about the way I talk. I remember doing speech therapy along with my mother and the teacher. I told every word correctly and clearly. My mother was proud. She started crying. The teacher asked me, “Do you know why your mom is crying?” I was perplexed and nodded my head. Then, she explained to me, you did so well. She is proud of you. She is crying tears of happiness.’ You see, every parent wants what is best for their deaf child or all of their children.

Since that incident, it dawned on me, that maybe when I spoke my first word they would have cried tears of happiness. They would have been proud of every small thing I did. For instance, attending a mainstream school, and interacting with others. You see, every small thing a deaf child does will be praised a hundredfold by the parents. Please carefully think before you say something rude to a deaf child. And please teach your children to do the same.

I’m monolingual. I know only one language. That’s English. I have experienced it throughout my life. It brings painful memories and funny ones too. My friends used to envy me because I didn’t have to go through the trouble of learning another language’s grammar and spelling. I used to be free. Despite, that drawback I have fared quite well. I recall while I was schooling for the first time in Sri Lanka. People would point at me and tell others I was deaf in another language. You might be wondering how I understood what they were saying. Well, body gestures and hand movements are some techniques I picked. In some instances, it has come in handy.

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