Born with a hearing loss that was undetected until I was 8, I was placed in a school for the mentally retarded for two years before they found out it was just a hearing loss. And they call me slow?
As a person with a hearing loss who uses spoken language, I have found it challenging as to where I fit in this world. Deaf-culture people see me as hearing because I use my voice rather than sign. Hearing people see me as deaf because I wear hearing aids and read lips. People ask me all the time, what do you call yourself "deaf, hard of hearing, hearing-impaired?" I say, "Call me Kathy."
My baby is No Limits, a nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the auditory, speech, and language needs of deaf children and to enhancing their confidence through theatrical arts and individual therapy. Education is the key. No Limits offers for speech therapy, parent education, and a literacy component to help the children succeed.
By the time I was in 6th grade, I lost the use of my hearing aids because they were not made for my particular loss. It was painful. Today, hearing aids can be programmed to fit the individual's hearing loss. How cool is that? I was 34 when someone took the time to tell me that it was unrelated to my intellect. I always felt inadequate because I could never keep up with what was going on around me.
I am a person who speaks from the heart and challenges all people to find their own individuality and to embrace it wholeheartedly. Sharing the importance of true communication, the gift of choice, and eradicating labels and judgment through my life stories with humor has allowed me to welcome people into my world.
Kathy Buckley is a five-time American Comedy Award Nominee whose appearances have included "The Tonight Show," "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," and "Entertainment Tonight" www.kathybuckley.com and www.kidswithnolimits.org.