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My Life with a Cochlear Implant

Hi, my name is Jessica C. In many ways I am a regular 8th grade girl. However, there is one different thing about me. I am deaf. But I don’t use ASL (American Sign Language). I have cochlear implants that help me speak and hear. If this technology didn’t exist I would not be here at my school and I would be using ASL. This is my story.

I was born on February 9, 1995 at 11:30 am. I was given some tests to see if I could hear. This test is given to many new babies when they are born. I failed that test. That meant I was deaf.

My mom wanted to give me an implant as soon as possible, not when I was 2. At the time the rules were that children could get an implant at age 2 or over. My mom did not want to wait like she did with my sister, Rachel, until I was 2. Rachel did not receive her implant until she was two and so she had more to catch up.

When I was 14 months old, we flew to New York. Why did we fly to New York? There was a Cochlear Implant Center there. That was where my sister got her surgery. While we were there, my mom asked the doctor when he would implant me. My mom hoped for 18 months, but the answer she received was even better. She was told that I could get my cochlear implant at 15 months! She was so happy that she almost fell off the chair. Even though I was little, I think that if I had been able to talk and express how I felt, I would have been happy and excited.

Next month we flew back to New York. I was only 15 months old at the time. My surgery was in May, 1996. At the time, I was the youngest child in the country to get a cochlear implant. I had a cochlear implant for my left ear. But now children can receive a cochlear implant as young as 6 months old.

As soon as I got a cochlear implant, I started working with Mary Ann Costin at the AVCA (Auditory-Verbal Center of Atlanta). She taught me how to speak. When I was 6 years old, I graduated from the AVCA. After working with Mary Ann Costin for four and half years, I no longer needed intensive speech and language therapy.

I attended High Meadows School beginning in preschool through 1st grade. Then I left High Meadows School in 2004 when I was entering 2nd grade. I went to River Eves Elementary School so that I could receive more resource help during my school day.

That year, my sister Rachel got a second CI (cochlear implant). My mom wanted me to get a cochlear implant for my right ear also. So in May 2004, I got surgery for a second implant for my right ear.

I went to River Eves for 3 years. When I was in 4th grade I left the school and returned to High Meadows. My mom pulled me out of River Eves for many reasons. One reason was that there was too much competition at River Eves and we wanted the hands-on curriculum at High Meadows. I was glad to be back at High Meadows.

Now, 2 years later, I am back at High Meadows and I am happy to be at such a fantastic school where I can get such a good education. A good education is very important for me to be able to pursue my dreams and, without my Cochlear Implant, I would not be here because everyone here can hear and speak. I have many dreams and goals in life.

When I am 17 or 18 years old, I want to be a High Meadows camp counselor. Then, in my 20s or early 30s, I want to be a High Meadows teacher. I watch how one of my favorite Middle Years teachers explains things to the class and I want to be like that. My grandparents were also teachers, so there is a history of educators in my family. I know how important it is to have a good teacher.

After that, at 30 to 47, I would like to be a vet. I love all animals, big ones and little ones. I love dogs, cats, and horses. I rescued a cat and he lives with me now. It is important for animals to have someone to take care of them in a loving way when they are sick or hurt.

Finally, at 48 I would like to run for President of United States. It would have to be after my brother is President because we don’t want to run against each other. I have learned so much about politics from my brother, and he taught me so much about why it is important to be active in politics. There are many things I can do even at my age. I can learn about the issues and join groups like “Kids for Obama.” I can talk about politics to others and teach them why I think a certain candidate would be good for the country. My cochlear implants will make it much easier for me to do any of these wonderful jobs that I want to do.



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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

Kate said...
Jun. 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm:
Jessica....you really disgust me. obviously, you aren't proud of who you are and your deafness. Wow, you really disappoint me and deaf people. Cochlear implants are SO CRUEL. It doesn't cure DEAFNESS.  I'd never force my deaf kids to wear cochlear implants. No way. Cochlear implants REALLY RUIN DEAF CULTURE, no kidding.  you wear cochlear implants, you don't support deaf, that's it.
 
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Pngsaxin said...
Mar. 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm:

hey there! My name is Allison and I became hearing impaired when I was two because I got extremely sick. Over the years, I've been losing more and more hearing. Not two weeks ago, I went in for testing that was required by the shool. I completely bombed it. The test showed I had lost 20% of my hearing since 2009. I came down with a horrible ear infection the next morning so God knows if this test was accurate at all. I'm going to be retested in June and if it is the same or not better, (accor... (more »)

 
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butterscotch1 said...
Dec. 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm:
We are losing members of the deaf culture because of this!! Be proud that you were born deaf. it is a rich and fascinating culture and you should have stayed that way. Deaf people can live perfectly normal lives too!
 
HarryPotterFan4 replied...
Dec. 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm :
Okay, first off I am glad that I got a cochlear implant. No it does not fix everything. I am still deaf... But if you don't like the implant then don't say anything. I am glad that I got the implant because without I would not  be the person that I am today.
 
kate replied...
Jun. 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm :
i agree with butterscotch1! no offense, harrypotterfan4.
 
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lilliepad1997 said...
Feb. 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm:
This is a really cool article to read. Im also a 8th grader with a cochlear implant. I got mine at 18 months, except i only have one, on my right ear. it really has changed my life. its amazing that we can be like other people. I thank god everyday that i can hear. it really truly is amazing.
 
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