Words from Wendy: Seeing Joy and Success on TV

Fall is definitely here! I find fall to be beautiful, fun, and a little challenging. The leaves are almost done changing colors and falling to the ground, Thanksgiving plans are in full swing, and the dreaded time change has come. In my house, bedtimes and wake-up times were a bit wonky for a week but seem to have settled down. I also notice my family snuggling up on the couch more in the evenings to watch a family show. One of the shows we enjoy is the Great British Bake Off. I absolutely recommend this show for so many reasons. Besides the delicious looking desserts the people on the contests are delightful. They are very talented and all seem very genuine both as individuals and in the way they interact with one another. One of the contestants in particular has sparked some interesting conversation in my house. Tasha, a young British woman, has a cochlear implant. She has beautiful listening and spoken language skills and also has the support of an interpreter and uses British Sign Language at times.  

My boys are very well versed in cochlear implants since their grandparents use them and they have spent time with the students at Child’s Voice. We talk often about hearing, communication, and technology so I was surprised that they had so many questions about how Tasha communicates. “Why does she use sign language if she can talk?” “Why does she only have one cochlear implant?” “Why does Paul talk differently when he talks to Tasha?” Being the semi annoying educator mom that I am, my first response to these questions is always “What do you think?” Their answers have been wonderful and our discussion always leads to the answer of individual needs and choices in different situations. We speculate about these answers but the truth is only Tasha knows what works best for her and what helps her communicate best. I love watching a show that represents people with hearing loss in such a positive way. 

Another example of great representation for people with hearing loss is this season of Big Brother. I am personally less familiar with this show but I have really enjoyed reading about the contestant Matt and how the show’s production team has worked to accommodate his listening and communication needs. Matt is a Deaflympics goal medalist in swimming and has made it to the finals of the TV show! Check him out here.

I love seeing these individuals share their personal stories but resonates with me is that they are positive stories. So often in movies and TV people with hearing loss experience tragedy due to their deafness. But people who know Child’s Voice, our students, and our families know that there are so many opportunities for joy and success in the worlds of people with hearing loss. I love coming to Child’s Voice every day and wondering what our amazing little ones will grow up to achieve, maybe someday I will see some of them on TV too.