As someone with a disability myself, and who also knows what it means to parent a child with multiple disabilities, I've become an advocate for my children on so many fronts, including their education. After all, when it comes to disability and inclusion, despite good intentions, many schools don't even know what they don't know.
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New York City, the vibrant place I'd once fallen madly for, became a nightmare. The streets were humming, whirring. Tractors moaned, ambulances screamed, the click of lighters and the hiss of brooms brushing cafe floors were torture. I heard everything on one side and nothing on the other; it drove me mad never knowing where each sound came from.
Brent Harris is the founding drummer of New Zealand band Cut Off Your Hands. He's also had sensorineural hearing loss since his late teens, which means his hearing is slowly but steadily deteriorating and may one day go entirely. This rather heavy unknown has had a big impact on his career as a musician.
Over the past few years, I've developed significant bilateral hearing loss. We're still not sure why or if it's going to get worse. But during this transition to understanding everyone around me to struggling to piece together context clues and pathetic attempts at lip reading, I have learned a few things.
There are an estimated 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in America. The number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals and people with other disabilities worldwide is equal to the population of China. This does NOT include the number of friends and family including children who travel with us.