Today's blog comes from the Feldpausch family, who recently gave us a tour of their dairy farm with the help of an American Sign Language interpreter and their daughters Nina and Avelyn (video is below). Here is Nina's story as told by her mom, Nora:
Although Chuck's older sister began experiencing hearing loss in early childhood, it was not until Nina was diagnosed and got hearing aids at 20 months that we really began thinking about what it is like to live with progressive hearing loss day-to-day.
Things like eating out in a noisy restaurant, letting her run ahead when we are walking knowing she cannot hear us (or traffic), helping her explain to friends and teachers why she needs to be facing them when they are talking, and figuring out when "I didn't hear you" is just a normal kid trying to get out of listening and when it means we need to get her back to the audiologist, are just a few of the issues we've had to navigate in the past few years.
Nina gets frustrated and embarrassed sometimes by her disability, but, as we've discussed with her many times, she also has a unique perspective on the world and on what it means to be different. I think her hearing loss has led her to be much more observant than the average kid her age - she is usually the first to notice how others are feeling/thinking and she's developed a kindness and an attentiveness to what's going on around her that I think are more developed because she relies on those skills in a way that most of us don't need to.
Nina began learning sign language a few years ago, when we discovered that her hearing loss is progressive and unpredictable. When she was first diagnosed, we really emphasized making sure she was learning excellent lip-reading and speaking skills. Later, she began learning sign language and now has sign language skills included as part of her educational curriculum.
Nina and her twin sister Avelyn wanted to do this video because they enjoy teaching everyone, hearing or not, where their milk comes from. We are really proud as a family of the work that is done on the dairy and we are excited to see the kids help tell our story. Check out the video below!