Nothing Stops Me

Cordelia GymnasticsNot every 8- year-old girl is deaf. Not every girl does aerial arts and not every girl does gymnastics. Not every girl is on a swim team and not every girl is homeschooled. But I am. I’ll explain.

I was born with a profound hearing loss in both ears. When I was 4 months old I got hearing aids, but they didn’t work so well for me. Then, when I was 10 months old I got a cochlear implant. My family and I used to sign to communicate. I’m not so good about signing nowadays. I like to communicate using my voice and hearing with my cochlear implant or behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid.

Let me tell you about my favorite activity, aerial arts. Aerial arts is trapeze and silks (ribbons) and sometimes stilts. It’s kind of hard to hear when I’m up high because I’m deaf. I always wear an extra magnet on my BTE, an ear mold and wig tape. My favorite act to perform is the hip key. A hip key is kicking your legs in the air and turning out upside down in the ribbons. Someday, I hope to be part of an aerial arts troupe or team. Gymnastics is another favorite sport. It consists of beam, bar, floor, rope, trampoline and the foam pit. I love to climb the ropes.

The most challenging part of being on a swim team is that I can’t hear underwater. If my BTE gets wet, I won’t be able to hear. I am hoping to get a Neptune sound processer, which is waterproof, so I can hear and be in the water at the same time. I love to swim. The stroke I like best is butterfly because of the dolphin kick.

I also like to skateboard. This year I got my first long board skateboard; I am learning so many cool tricks. I want to accomplish a trick involving fancy footwork and a board jump.

I like to do lots of things. Nothing stops me – not even my deafness. Still, I’m a regular girl, like Bethany Hamilton, a young professional surfer who lost her arm. Nothing can stop me from trying new things.

Meet Cordelia

Cordelia was born deaf as the result of a genetic mutation. She received her first cochlear implant in 2004. Due to a malfunction in the device, we received a replacement implant in 2006. Although she did use Signed Exact English for the first three years of her life, after receiving her second implant she used listening and spoken language almost exclusively. Cordelia attended a listening and language school for one year, and was mainstreamed until this year when her family decided to try home schooling. Cordelia lives in the San Francisco bay area with her parents, Nicole and John, and an older brother, Judah. She is currently considering a second cochlear implant.

Volta Voices, March/April 2012