During my elementary school years, I had a lot of recognition. Everywhere I went, there was at least one teacher who would smile at me because they knew I was one of the best students at school. However, there was a secret that I kept throughout those years, and it had set boundaries in my literacy skills. For the first few days of 1st grade, my teacher noticed how I couldn’t pronounce some letters. She even knew that I had grammar issues in my writings. I would end up making plurals singular or using the wrong determiner like saying “a apple” instead of “an apple”.
The nurses also found out that I couldn’t hear high frequency sounds on both ears. The school was worried that my disability would interfere with my learning. They decided to give me a speech therapist and her name was Susan. She didn’t tell me her last name because she wanted me to be comfortable with her. Every other day, she would call me out of class and take me to her room. I could not forget the sessions I had to go through during my speech therapy.
“Trixia, look at my mouth,” she said, “watch how my tongue touches the roof of my mouth and how my teeth stays together.”
I spent over 5 years trying to pronounce the letter “S” and “Ch”, but I got the advantage of learning how to read lips. Because I could not hear those letters, it was hard for me to write plurals that were spoken orally. My grammar was always constantly corrected and until this day, I still worry about the grammar in my writings. Ever since my parents knew about my “hard of hearing” situation, my dad would make sure that every TV in the house would have captions, so I could pay attention to every sentence structure. I would watch how the dialogues in the captions show the correct grammar in every sentence. The captions had helped me become more careful in how I flowed with my sentences and I believe that reading captions was a good strategy to focus on the little details in word choice.
Once again, as the years go by, I improved with my reading and writing—I even scored a perfect score in a national writing test during 5th grade. In 6th grade, Susan noticed the improvement in my speech and she saw how well I could write. She happily told me that I am “done”. I didn’t need any more speech therapy. I could finally move on from the struggles that I was facing with my hearing. This was only the beginning of climbing over the walls that could have prevented me from growing as a writer. I should never forget the process of slowly fixing my mistakes in my writings, and continue to pay close attention to the details I wrote. There may be weaknesses that can set boundaries in our learning, but nothing can block the value in the level of our own reading and writing.