Silent World

( Intermediate Level )

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful and inspirational person whose outlook on life is immense. Her disability never stopped her.

When Agnes was born the doctors discovered she could not hear. To what extent her hearing loss was, they were unsure. The doctor would order testing to be done in the next few weeks.

Her mother was devastated as Agnes was her first child. “Was it something I did, Doctor?” Her mother asked. “I must go home and tell my husband, her father, that our first child is deaf.”

“No one can tell you for certain why these things happen but I can assure you that Agnes will grow up just fine. She will be a bit slower to develop some skills but she will do just fine.”

“You and your husband will have to find ways to keep her interested in learning and I will research this school I recently read about. You can communicate through sign language. It is a visual communication using gestures, facial expressions, and your hands.”

“Once I know about this school and what it offers, I will have my nurse call you and give you the contact information. It would be best if both you and your husband learn this together along with your daughter. This way both of you can be an active part in her development.”

Alright Doctor. I will wait until I hear from your office and go from there. My husband and I wanted to have a few more children but I figure working with Agnes will be time-consuming and having more children may not be the best situation all around.”

“Maybe not right away but I do not see why you couldn’t have more children in the future. Maybe in a year or two. If you work with her and sign her up at this school she will learn quickly.”

Mildred left the office with Agnes in her arms. She blames herself for Agnes even though the doctor was uncertain. She was determined to do everything in her power to give her a fighting chance to be as normal as other children.

This is exactly what she and her husband did. They gave their daughter all the tools to grow up just as normal as others without the ability to hear. They enrolled her in the school as soon as they earned the first year of tuition and she reached age one.

When she turned ten, if still enrolled, she would have the opportunity to stay in the dorms with others like her. It would give Agnes a sense of acceptance the school told her mother.

Now at ninety-three years old, Agnes looks back and realizes the sacrifices her parents made for her. She counsels new parents who have found out that their children are hearing impaired.

With the world of new technology and teaching methods, it is much easier for a child to learn than it was for her. Agnes now uses a special tablet to speak to these parents. Laughing as she remembers how difficult it was at first to use it.

In an interview once, she tells us a story she was reminded of. A story about a single mother who she met about thirty years ago. This woman was a single mother and the cards were already stacked against her for this. She wanted to give her son up for adoption because of his deafness.

She sat down with her tablet and typed away. The words came quickly and with passion,” I understand how you feel. My parents felt the same when they were told of my inability to hear and that was over forty years ago. They didn’t want to give me up but they felt defeated. My mother blames herself for my deafness.” Agnes shutters when she realizes how many years have passed.

“Giving up on yourself and your son is an easy way to get out of a hard place you’re in. The result will be forever. Are you truly wanting to put your son up for adoption?” This mother looked up at Agnes with sad eyes and shook her head no.

In the end, the mother kept her son. Agnes helped her learn sign language and in turn, could help her son learn. This woman’s life was turned around by what Agnes said to her through the words she typed. At the age of ten, the boy came and lived in the dorms.

Agnes wants people to understand the last but not least message: “Even though my world is silent doesn’t mean I am all that different from you. If I made it in this world then anyone can.”

Written By: Angel

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inspirational – adjective: providing or showing inspiration

extent– noun: the size or scale of something

devastated – verb: overwhelming shock or grief

assure – verb: tell someone something positively or confidently 

development – noun: the process of starting to experience

time-consuming – adjective: taking a lot of or too much time

tuition – noun: a sum of money charged for teaching or instruction by a school

dorms – noun: a residence hall providing rooms for individuals or for groups usually without private baths

acceptance – noun:  the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable 

counsels – verb: give advice

hearing impaired – adjective: people with any degree of hearing loss

cards were (are) already stacked– idiom: a situation in which one person or group is disadvantaged or faces difficult circumstances

adoption – noun: the act of adopting or making it your own

deafness -noun: the condition of not being able to hear

defeated – adjective: demoralized and overcome by adversity

shutters – verb: visible signs of disbelief

Question ( s ):

Do you know anyone with a disability or a handicap?

If so, has it stopped them from achieving their life goals?