Being deaf does not mean that you cannot enjoy the other pleasures of life with the other four senses. The only problem is that it becomes a little harder when you are alone.
1) The dreaded Tannoy. Every time I’m at the train/bus station and it is needed to inform of a change of platform, bus, cancellation or delays, it is announced over tannoy. I can never understand a word what’s being said perhaps snatches if I really listened hard.
It’s the echoness of the tannoy that throws me as the previous word is still ringing around as the next word is said. So I can count, more than often, of missed trains and buses.
So if you really need to find me (e.g. running into the station to declare your undying love for me), you’re better off making your way very close to the massive Departure Board where I will be keeping a very close eye on it. (Please bring coffee 🙂 ) However, should there be no board, I have to rely on the kindness of strangers.
Optimistically, you can think that it’s a great way to meet people ‘err…excuse me…does this go to the other side of the world’ and perhaps use a chat up line or 2. Usually, they are happy to help out upon realising I’m deaf.
2) Missing my stop. This gets me on edge. So often I would like to just snooze and curl up in a ball, perhaps dribbling onto and hugging the person next to me (it happens too much for me to ignore) and arrive at my destination completely refreshed.
There are those who say no to the efforts of persons with disabilities. It is easy to assume that they cannot do certain things while the truth is that they can achieve the impossible.
It has often been hard for me to get people to see beyond my disability and instead to see my real potential. Over the years many well-meaning people have tried to save me from the disappointment of failure by discouraging me from pursuing ‘unrealistic goals’ such as when I decided to study for a degree. Yet I managed to graduate with a math’s degree from the Open University.
Institutions too have in the past underestimated my potential as a disabled man. For many years the authorities refused me entry into teacher training college for example, making it seemingly impossible for me to realize my dream of becoming a teacher. But after a long struggle I was eventually allowed to attend the college and in due course I became a qualified teacher. I have since taught Deaf children in schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow and presently teach in St Vincent’s School for Deaf Children. I am very lucky to be in my dream job and believe that I am in a unique position to be a positive role model for other Deaf children.