Monday, 31 August 2015

Life since finishing school...2 years ago!

Well it was shocking to see that my last blog post was over 2 years ago, now that is just appalling! And in those 2 years I embarked on an exciting new chapter in my life which is now over. I have completed my A levels and I am just about to start a new job.

So here is the rundown of the last two years...

I got my GCSE results:

  • 1 A* in Religious Studies 
  • 1 A in English Language 
  • 4 B's in Maths, Psychology, Geography and English Literature
  • 4 C's in Science, Additional Science, Drama, ICT
I was, and still am, really proud of these results. I worked so hard and overcame many obstacles to achieve those grades. High school was always a bit lonely for me as a deaf person and sometimes overwhelming when in a noisy class of 30! So I was really excited to go to Mary Hare where I could embrace being in a deaf friendly environment. 

I can still remember my first day like yesterday it was on 27th August just after the Bank Holiday. Just 10 minutes into the journey we had to stop because I was stressing as I had got chocolate down my top and I wanted to make a good first impression, so we had to wash it off! I was so nervous to see old faces and meet new ones, everyone will tell you just how shy I was. My parents helped me get my room all set up (the room was really nice!) and I hated it when they went and cried, only because mum set me off. For the first few months I was SO homesick, I had second thoughts about staying at Mary Hare and I was always found in my room. I missed my parents so much. But after the first few months the homesickness subsided and I began to immerse myself into everything.

Over the last two years, I have grown socially and academically. I have made a close circle of friends who I now miss dearly. We often went out for meals together, shopping, had film nights and lots of girly gossip! I had more of a social life at Mary Hare than I ever did in my 13 years of mainstream. The one thing that everyone relied on me for was ordering their takeaways as I could hear well on the phone, hence why I ended up calling Dominos about 3 or 4 times a night! So I can only imagine their profits will go down now I've left!

I recently got my A Level results and I got...
  • 1 B in Psychology
  • 1 C in Religious Studies 
  • 1 Merit in Health and Social care 
I have also become a member of the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) Youth Advisory Board (YAB). I worked alongside 17 other deaf people and discussed issues that we felt affected deaf young people and we also gave NDCS feedback on their work. I even attended the Conservative party conference in September 2014 and met lots of MP's even the Disability Minister- it was an amazing experience!

I am now an adult (sort of!), currently learning to drive, more confident and very excited to start my new job supporting a deaf student. So what a great 2 years it has been, one chapter has ended and onto the next one..

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

End of Year 11, holiday, summer and preparations for College

Well, it sure has been a long time since I last blogged, sorry about that but it sure has been a hectic few months!

I have had to prepare for my final GCSE exams, all 8 of them; Physics, RE, English Language, 2x Geography, 2x English Language and Drama. As you can imagine that's a lot of revision, it was amazing how much of my time was taken up by revising. Out of all of those exams, the exam I struggled most with was my drama exam. We as a group decided to use my radio aid FM system to make it easier to hear one of my quieter group members on stage, after many rehearsals we managed to pull off one of our best performances, so all the hard work eventually paid off!
It even transpired at a recent audiology appointment that I wasn't hearing the higher frequencies and two of Cochlear Implant electrodes have broken down so it was a miracle that I even managed to get through the drama performance! 

When I finished my last exam, I screamed with joy; I was free! But it was emotional as before I left I had to say goodbye to my TA (Teaching Assistant) of 10 years! Without her I wouldn't have got to the place where I am today, I wouldn't have done as well as I have done. This really was an end of an era, a few tears were shed but we were determined to make the occasion as happy as possible, and thought of it as a "see you later" rather than a "goodbye."  My last day with my friends was also emotional, as I have known some for as long as 13 years. But I'm sure I'll keep in touch with those who have remained my true friends,Ii guess during this summer I'll learn who my true friends are. 

Before embarking on the next chapter in my life I need to celebrate the end of exams; holiday!!

I have just come back from a 2 week holiday, I had a lovely break, very relaxing and also great fun! I chilled by the pool, did lots of reading and swimming! We even went to Paphos for the day. During my 2 weeks away, I turned 17 so to celebrate my dad took me on a jet ski, which went VERY fast (our fastest was 81km per hour!!) it was a hair raising experience to say the least. We went out for many meals, on my birthday night we went to my favourite restaurant in Cyprus, Molti. I had a delicious meal. For pudding I ordered a lemon and sugar crepe (or as we like to say a pancake) but I wasn't to get off lightly! My mum and dads puddings arrived, and I started to wonder "where's mine?" Then all of a sudden the lights went out and it immediately hit me; I started to cringe! The waiter brought out my crepe with a large candle on the plate, and the whole restaurant burst into singing "happy birthday". Within a few minutes everyone got back to their meals and I could enjoy my crepe in peace. I felt relieved that the surprise was over and I could now relax, or could I? Whilst watching the evening entertainment, they suddenly made an announcement that it was my birthday and once again everyone burst into singing "happy birthday" whilst a personalised birthday cake was brought out! Thankfully that was the last of the surprises! Thank you to mum and dad for making it such a special day and also for an amazing holiday.

Now that I'm home from my holiday I've got many things to look forward this summer; seeing friends (going shopping and having water fights!), seeing my amazing little cousin, off on another holiday to cornwall, getting my final GCSE results- I'm already nervous!!

Most importantly, this summer I am getting ready to move onto the next chapter in my life; college. After much debate within my own mind, I have decided to go to Mary Hare. I've got to give it a try, because if I don't I'd regret it later on in life and think "what if..?" I think if I didn't go I would be turning down an opportunity. Sometimes you have got to grab an opportunity with both hands and leap into the unknown, take a leap of faith.

One chapter has ended so let the next chapter in my book begin...

Monday, 28 January 2013

Exams and final few months of year 11...

So I hope everyone had a good Christmas and that you all got what you wanted!

Unfortunately, I was revising for most of my Christmas break, preparing for the dreaded exams; maths and English, the essential subjects needed to get into college. So I had to make sure I worked hard as I knew the importance of these exams, I knew I had to do well in them, so the pressure was on.

In my first week back I had 2 exams, yes 2!

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was writing about my first week in year 11. This month I have just completed 5 exams, time sure does seem to be flying by! I have about 15 weeks left of year 11 left...the prospect of having to do more exams is pretty daunting, but I know it'll be worth it in the end.

I have already started my scrapbook and soon will be starting my yearbook, already looking through my scrapbook I realise that both primary and high school were both good parts of my life, and the memories will always stay with me.

But, hey! I've still got another few months left with these guys, so we are going to make the most of our last few months together and create some amazing memories!

I'm dreading saying goodbye to some people who I have worked closely with for nearly 10 years. I'm not only going to miss my TA's but the people I'm going to miss most are my friends. I'm hoping to keep in contact with those few who I have known since reception, so for some we sure have been on a roller coaster of 10 years, actually 12!

It'll be the end of an era really,saying goodbye to old faces, and some people I haven't really known that long either, but I can't wait to embark on a new chapter of my life; one that I'm REALLY excited about!

You all wait till May, and I promise you that my leaving post for year 11 will sure be emotional!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Deaf Education Vs Mainstream Education

As a lifelong main-streamer I know all the ups and downs of mainstream school life as a profoundly Deaf teen but I fell in love with Mary Hare's unique environment when I visited a few years ago.

From Mary Hare website

The way in which society educates deaf people has evolved throughout generations. There was a time when deaf people were taught at deaf schools only, using the strategy of BSL, then BSL was banned in deaf education and deaf people were forced to speak. They were punished if they chose to sign as it was forbidden anywhere on school grounds.


By making them speak they felt like they lost their freedom, the freedom to embrace their deaf culture.

But have we learned from our mistakes?

Over time more deaf schools have been closed and deaf people have been sent to mainstream schools and have been taught orally.  Deaf people are now seen as part of the hearing world.  We have to learn English yet BSL isn’t taught.
We are seen as “deaf and dumb” this is NOT true, we can achieve anything in life if we put our minds to it. 

But shouldn’t we have the choice as to where we’re educated? 
The mainstream environment can cause deaf people to feel isolated, with lower confidence and self esteem but of course this doesn’t apply to everyone many deaf students thrive in a mainstream school and many don’t let their deafness get in the way of their goals and will continue to achieve their potential, with the right support and equipment.

But why should we have “special equipment” and have a TA sat next to us, and be seen as the odd one out, the one who’s disabled? Well, we’re deaf not disabled. Wouldn’t you like not to constantly battle for the right hours of support or equipment? 
Well, none of this matters, no battles are needed.  
Doesn’t society encourage equality? 

We should have the choice, the option to be educated in a deaf environment where you’re all treated equally, not being treated any different; not being singled out or having advantages because of your deafness. 

Not having to worry about explaining to a supply teacher how a radio aid works, or having to stick your hand up, embarrassed because you couldn’t hear what the teacher has said. No bullying towards your deafness. 

The deaf education is tailored to students who are deaf, with special group hearing aids, specialist teachers of the deaf. Deaf education allows deaf people to be themselves and forget their deafness, immerse themselves into a world of like-minded people, people who understand them, allowing them to feel “normal”, and also to develop their love for education again. Therefore, increasing self esteem and confidence.

The reason why we don’t see many deaf schools open and very few deaf students applying to go to deaf education is because of cuts and lack of funding. Why should our futures be decided by our LA’s?  However, there is a wide amount of support available in a mainstream environment but the quality of support is arguably varied.

Wouldn’t you like the option to choose; mainstream or deaf education? You should have the choice to embrace your deaf culture, to decide how you want to lead your life, for you only live life once. So you should think about what’s best for you, and take the opportunity by both hands.

(Mary Hare Logo is from Mary Hare website)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review of "Whisper"

Whisper is one of very few stories that I could strongly relate to, it connected with me as it shared my culture, my world; my life.
It's about a 'normal' teenager,called Demi, who has her world turned upside down when she's struck down with meningitis and discovers she's profoundly deaf.

Being a teenager must be hard enough
But being a deaf teenager?

Her life is transformed:
New school
New friends
Learning a new language

I was immersed in the story from beginning to end, it was gripping and I simply couldn't put it down. It's a must read for both deaf and hearing audiences.It explores family dynamics, a girl finding her inner strength, and explores the conflict of Demi coming to terms with her "deaf identity" as she finds herself in the "in-between world" juggling the deaf and hearing worlds.

Disability or no disability, every teenager should read this book!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cuts to the NHS...

The six month countdown was over, the day was finally here...
Time for my upgrades, the trendy nucleus 5's!

But what was meant to be an exciting day wasn't all that exciting- I was so happy to finally have the smaller, sleeker implants; my life seemed to be made. I had compact and standard rechargeable batteries-more flexibility with how I can wear my processor-what every deaf teenager dreams of!

Another thing every teenager loves doing is listening to music, but as a deaf person music is still as enjoyable as long as you have the correct accessories...unfortunately for me I wasn't provided with a direct cable like I had done when I had my previous upgrade, I was so excited to be getting a bilateral audio input-looks like I was going to have to order my own and wait for the stereo sound. 

So what used to be provided for free by the NHS now costs £60-yes £60! But that's not all I also had to buy a freedom adapter to ensure my previous Freedom implant cable would be compatible with my new processors-another £60, the money soon mounts up-but we really need to pay this much to be able to have a better quality of sound?  This shows how much of a disadvantage deaf people are as we need extra accessories to be able to enjoy the world of sound, but we shouldn't have to pay for them, if anything NHS could at least subsidise this cost of the accessories. 

I worry for the future of the deaf community as the BBC reports that; Action on Hearing Loss has collected data from 128 hospitals and 'found more than 40% had seen cuts in the past 18 months.' So what does this worrying statistic suggest? That we're going to experience more than a lack of accessories? Something needs to be done! 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Year 11!

Well, I went back to school last Wednesday, but to be fair I've got to say, that apart from the assembly, it was a great first day back-no lessons, chatting and chilling in form (not to mention the late start-11am!) If only every day was like that.
When I arrived at school, all I could hear was a clamour of excited chatter,  people exchanging stories about their holidays, exchanging exam results and the excitement of the fact that we have only got one year-well, 9 months left! The weirdest thing about the whole day was seeing all of my friends in white shirts-only the year 11's have the privilege of having them :) What was the worst thing? Getting my timetable-it's worst than last year- I mean triple geography?! Who even invented that idea?  But at 3pm I knew that summer was then officially over-back to lessons!

So after a week of lessons, what can I say?
It's lovely to see everyone again, to see them again after what seemed forever (it was only 2 months!) We still have so much to catch up on.
I'm shattered, I hate to think how exhausted I'm going to be in the lead up to exams, all the preparation and revision-the lessons have been fairly relaxed , laid back and the teachers have been doing our "learning plans." Despite that we have already had a quite a lot of homework, and that's in the first week so I'm dreading what it'll be like when exam period kicks off! But fear not I'm raring to go and determined to get the grades I both deserve and need to get into sixth form, bring on the exhaustion! Year 11, throw anything at me cos I'm ready!