"Your son, Michael, will never be able to hear, speak, or do the things a normal hearing person would do,” my parents were told. I was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf at the age of 15 months. My world seemed as if it had come to a narrow passage with very limited opportunities. However, it was the beginning of something unforeseen and beyond normal. All future dreams and visions seemed shattered, but they were actually expanding to a whole new dimension a normal-hearing person would never experience.
Implanted at UT Southwestern by Dr. Roland, I was the first child to receive the cochlear implant in Dallas at the age of 2 in 1991. Since then I have thrived in the mainstream world. I contribute most of my cochlear implantation success to the intensive Auditory Verbal Therapy I had with therapists at UTD Callier and with Linda Daniels before and after receiving my cochlear implant. I underwent therapy until I was in the fourth grade. Another contributing factor was my family’s unending involvement to boost my communication skills; therapy sessions extended into my home and daily life. While therapy was at times exhausting and grueling, I am so glad that my parents enrolled me into it.
I have been in mainstream schools with all normal hearing students since the first grade and have been tremendously successful. I feel like I have been immensely blessed to have a cochlear implant that can help me hear, speak, and communicate with others. With this blessing, I feel a duty to participate in mainstream society and endeavor to be the best I can be in as many possible opportunities. I attended the International Business Academy, a highly sophisticated high school program for ambitious students while taking dual credit courses at Brookhaven Community College. I graduated high school as one of the top 10 students of my class and with honors. I went on to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, to pursue a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing. I graduated from SMU in a total of three years with my BBA in Marketing and with honors in 2010. I am now an Associate Marketing Manager working for Cochlear Americas. It is a surreal experience to work for the company that has enabled me to achieve all the things that I have accomplished over the years. I am now able to “pay it forward” and help those hear.
I never let my deafness handicap my abilities; I continue to move forward. I owe my success to my loving family, my great doctor, outstanding speech therapists and audiologists, and Cochlear.