Today I had my last lip reading class at Deaf Connections before I move away to study. I would like to Thank Carol, my amazing lip reading teacher for all the help that two years of classes have given me with my Auditory Processing Difficulties.
Even although I’m not great at lip reading, I pick up much more of what people say to me when there is background noise, or I’m tired. Not just because I pick up some lip shapes of parts of words which I miss, also because of extra confidence when talking to people. Auditory Processing Disorder can be worse if you’re nervous when talking to people. Something else which lip reading has given me is Focus. I look at people more when they talk to me, and pay more attention to their face, which helps no end socially.
There is also my class. They are almost all within the age range of 40-85. I bring the average age down considerably. Despite this, they have been welcoming from day one.
My wonderful lip reading friends have been like extra grandparents to me. Internet-savvy Grandparents who text. We will keep in touch! They have really restored some of my faith in people and made me feel so welcome in the hard-of-hearing community. As well as feeling like their grandchild, I also got to be an honorary elderly lady for a while. We had tea and cakes and talked about knitting projects. Some of my friends are incredible knitters and can create almost anything you can imagine out of wool at a formidable speed. Spending so much time with older people, I realised that they’re just like me. Old people are just young people with tons and tons of life experience. If it weren’t for arthritis, old joints and bad hips, they would still be partying with the best of them! It’s a relief to discover that when I’m older I don’t have to know everything. I’ll probably still make mistakes, struggle with everyday decisions and feel like a teenager. And knowing this, I don’t worry that one day I will be “grown up” and therefore not myself anymore. As an older person, I would like to be like my lip reading friends. Caring and wise, determined, cheerful and not without a great sense of humour.