My Journey from Silence
At the age of 24, my life is terrific but it has had its challenging moments. However, through it all, I accomplished so much in a short amount of time. I have two college degrees from Brooklyn College, received many awards in academics, writing, public service, and journalism, my writing has been featured in various publications, and I am fluent in Italian.
However, my journey to success wasn’t easy; for the first four years of my life I was hearing impaired. At that time, I was sent to the New York Childhood Center, a center that works on the development of young children with special needs. I was enrolled at the center for four years until a speech audiologist informed my mom and family about my recent hearing exam. The audiologist told my mother, “The highest decibels for a hearing exam are a 10, your daughter is 8: Dominique is hearing.” I knew my mother felt like she won the lottery when she received this vital piece of information. God answered her prayers and it was a new beginning for me academically. The audiologist also told my mom, “Dominique will be in general education classes, and all she needs is speech related services.”
For the next 15 years, I was taking speech classes two times a week for 30 minutes and received extended time on standardized tests. But, I was still enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and received excellent grades on my report cards because I knew I had the ability to be a diligent student in school.
When my mother and grandmother told me about my early deficiencies as a child, my face was full of astonishment. My family even showed me pictures of me wearing my hearing aids. This shocking news really touched me because I can only imagine that this was a difficult time for my family especially my mom. Some extended family members didn’t show an ounce of compassion and empathy because they were judgmental and cruel. In their eyes, I was labeled “retarded,” “stupid,” and said my mother wouldn’t finish school. She continued with her education at Hunter College for her BA and MA degrees and went on to become a teacher in a Brooklyn public school. I am so grateful to my mom for instilling in me love, guidance, and support. Her acts of encouragement made me realize excuses are unacceptable and you can’t label yourself as the “victim.” It has inspired me to take life day-by-day, step-by-step.
As I reflect on my life, this difficulty has kept me humble because it reminds me not to forget where you came from as you continue to climber the ladder to victory. I know more rough landings will head my way but as long as I continue to believe in myself and have faith in God, I will be able to be the victor in life. #