My daughter, Alicia, was born deaf but not diagnosed until 18 months. At that time she was found to have a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and was fitted with two hearing aids. The hearing aids gave her some usable hearing, and we quickly plunged into the world of special education, total communication, and hundreds of other experiences we could never have imagined.
At age 6 it was determined that Alicia’s right ear was “dead,” not able to process sound at all. She was fitted at that time with a programmable hearing aid, and what followed was a wonderful year of hearing at a much-improved level. Throughout this time Alicia was mainstreamed into a regular classroom at our neighborhood school. In April of 2012 Alicia experience a sudden, unexplained drop in her hearing. Even with her hearing aid, she was no longer able to hear most of the sounds she had for the last year.
We have always presented Alicia with a total communication setting. She has been exposed to sign and voice from the very beginning and has for the most part chosen to be an oral child. She seemed to realize from a very early age that if she signed to most people, they were not going to know what it was she wanted. Receptively, she has relied on sign-in the classroom and we have always used it as a backup for times when she was unable to understand the verbal communication.