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Demetra is a college student. Here she shares her thoughts about being deaf and living a full life. Contact us if you want us to respond to Demetra or ask her questions.

October 19, 2002

Living Life as an Oral Person, in a Hearing Community
painting of a flower

About the artwork

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Demetra and I am a student at Drexel University. I will be sending many short entries online for all viewers to understand the meaning of being deaf and at the same time live the fullest life possible.

I have been raised as an oral person and I consider myself as being hard of hearing rather than deaf. Even though I am profoundly deaf, the hearing aids help me to hear more and therefore I prefer to be considered in this way, as a hard of hearing person.

I come from Greece and my native tongue language is Greek. I moved to America, in Washington D.C. with my family 8 years ago, when my struggles and difficulties life began with learning English as a second language. I fought for a better life and the right to a good education, during the middle school and high school years. I strongly believe that the experiences that I have gone through helped me and to build my self-confidence and self-respect.

I choose this kind of life as an oral person and in a hearing community because in the real world everywhere you go and everywhere you see you are always exposed and influenced from the hearing community. I always felt that being successful is the biggest reward and accomplishment. In other words, I want to be successful and make a career. That requires me to be involved in the real world and explore many different places to gain from experience values and ideals.

Wanting to Help Others - and Finding Just the Right Place to Volunteer
Since I love to get as many volunteers as I can to help people’s lives, I was walking by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which is a few blocks away from the Drexel University campus. I immediately knew that it would be the perfect place for me to start to volunteer during my free time. I thought that if this is really a Children’s Hospital, than perhaps I could get involved with deaf patients and to help them communicate either in American Sign Language or Cued Speech Language. This idea motivated me.

So the following day I went into the building. Unfortunately I wasn’t familiar with the building and I had to explain what I was looking for to the front desk. I was immediately informed that I was in the wrong place and it was suggested to try the building across the street. At first I was puzzled, but I decided to go along with this suggestion. When I went into the other building there was another the front desk, where I had to explain the purpose of my visit all over again because I wasn’t sure which floor I should go to. Of course there was another miscommunication with the person at the front desk, because he was assuming, perhaps, that I wanted to do the Human Resources Department, while I was thinking of the children. Finally he recommended me to go to 9th floor.

As soon as I went up to the 9th floor I saw how the communication didn’t go well and I saw a sign that read Human Resources. I was extremely disappointed and frustrated because the front desk person wasn’t really listening to me and what I was looking for. As I was turning around ready to leave, I saw a sign. I stopped immediately and I was very pleasantly surprised. The sign was for the Deafness and Family Communication Center.

This is what I was looking for and after introducing myself to those people such as Lisa Bain as a Research Project Manager and Olivia Thetgyi as a Web Editorial Assistant. I was informed that I could volunteer and that I could write a journal about the life of a student, the problems and difficulties that I face so that other people can possibly benefit from my experiences. So look from time to time to my Journal.

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