Disability is a word that is negative in connotation. It presumes the lose of our natural sense allowing others to pity us. My natural disability is that of hearing. My audiologist describes my condition as severe bilateral sensory aural hearing loss, where I can hear lower then the usual person.
When did it start? I remember being addicted to FM radio, so much that I would win weekly; the DJ would snicker telling me to give chance to others. My desire back then was to become a Disc Jockey, their profession sounded admirable as they are also counsellors, friends to people but cloaked with anonymity. I even auditioned to be one over at Love Radio in Cebu but the fortitude and patience required was among my weakest trait that I gave up even before I started. It was in High School that our family noticed something a miss about me. I took to long to reply, and I would not even notice someone calling me. Hearing loss started in my High School days, I never wanted to wear a hearing aid but they coaxed me into submission. When I first wore a hearing aid it felt as if I was trapped in a audio booth. I realized hearing aids can never guarantee that you can hear everything, it merely acts as a helper.
I started teaching way back in my 20’s and my hearing loss never became a hindrance. My employer was even proud of me back then as despite such disability I can write a good promo for his school. I never thought of learning FSL (Filipino Sign Language) until I married my wife who is a Special Educator. At first It made me depressed, I was in denial for thinking that I am not handicapped but the good people at Gualandi Volunter Service Program (Cebu) made me feel that being deaf is not a disability; deaf people would talk to me through signs and I would reply back using FSL. Here’s a video of me and my wife doing FSL
I admit that I am no master in the Sign Language but with such exposure to a great community I can not help but feel blessed.