This confident senior doesn’t let anything get in her way – not even a disability. Living with a grandma who was severely deaf gave me valuable insight into the disability. I knew that I needed to speak clearly, and I could tell when my grandma had turned her hearing aid off and was refusing to […]
This confident senior doesn’t let anything get in her way – not even a disability.
Living with a grandma who was severely deaf gave me valuable insight into the disability.
I knew that I needed to speak clearly, and I could tell when my grandma had turned her hearing aid off and was refusing to listen. The fact that my grandma was deaf did not bother me at all. It was normal to me.
But it bothered her.
Raised in a generation that did not accept people who were different, my grandma was ashamed by her disability. She would style her hair in a specific way so that her hearing aid could be covered and she made sure that her hair color camouflaged the tiny device. Her shame made me very sad.
I wish my grandma had lived to meet Cydney.
Cydney Chilimidos (’13) is the coolest girl I know. Not only is she a star student, a fantastic softball player, and a great friend, Cydney is deaf in both ears and wears two hearing aids – with pride.
“I don’t hide it because it’s a part of who I am,” The Christian Brothers senior says. “If I was missing an arm, I wouldn’t stuff a shirt sleeve to pretend I have an arm.”
“I figure, you can’t miss what you’ve never had. It would be stupid of me to dwell on my inability to hear. It has never held me back, why would I start caring now?”
Cydney carries her spunk and dedication onto the softball field, where she has played on CB’s Varsity team since her freshman year. The softball star admits that she has to work harder than the average player.
“I have to be hyperaware of situations because if I don’t hear someone calling off a ball, I will get knocked over,” she says. “I’ve had times where I’ve been hit so hard that my hearing aids fly [off] of my head — metal spikes are not kind to hearing aids.”
[pullquote]It has never held me back, why would I start caring now?[/pullquote]
While communication is an obvious challenge, Cydney acknowledges that “being deaf has it’s perks,” including “sleep[ing] great every night because [she] can’t hear anything.”
“I can tune out the world with the touch of a button.”
While Cydney will face segregation and injustices for her disability, including in the work force, the confident senior says that she plans to study American Sign Language interpretation in college in order to immerse herself in the deaf community and help others who share her disability.
A model student and leader in a new generation with a more understanding perspective on disabilities, Cydney states, “You either like me or you don’t. Hearing has nothing to do with anything.”