As part of our 40th Birthday celebrations, we asked all of our young deaf adults, who undertook the Natural Aural Approach with their families with DELTA throughout their childhood, to give us an update to their Now and Then Stories – originially made 10 years ago – and tell us what they are doing in 2021!
Our young deaf adults are our success stories of the Natural Aural Approach from DELTA, providing inspiration and support to families of newly diagnosed deaf children proving that deaf children can speak for themselves, naturally.
We have been delighted to hear from Tara Sethi who shares her story from where she was 10 years ago and what she is doing today.
Then – 10 years ago when Tara shared her story
I was born in 1985, and wasn’t diagnosed with profound deafness until I was 2years old. I got my first hearing aids at 2.5years. My parents were determined that I would try to speak and hear, and thus opted for the hearing aids, despite their ignorance of the whole deafness and being overwhelmed with the situation. When I was 4, my parents took me to the John Tracy clinic in Los Angeles, in order to find out more about the various equipment, tactics and information on deafness.
I started off at the Mead Aurial School, for about a year, before moving to mainstream school, where I stayed through primary and secondary education. I had teachers of the deaf, who were excellent, and were always contactable for both myself and my family, as well as my teachers at the schools, as in both cases, the school had never had deaf students before, not that it was ever an issue- they were all more than accommodating, and provided notes and resources when needed. The headmistress at the secondary school was very supportive and encouraged me from day one to aim high and that deafness wasn’t an issue- she knew someone who was the top position at an accountancy firm, despite being profoundly deaf and not being able to use the phone. This was the first memory I have of someone external to my family and friends, who believed in me and openly believed that deafness did not define me and that I should never let it.
I went on to achieve 9 GCSEs, 2AS Levels and ALevels, all at the top grades, which I was incredibly pleased about, as it was comparable to my hearing peers, if not better! In my summer between finishing school and starting university, I decided to do a volunteer project in Bangalore, India, where I was based at a deaf school. It was humbling to be at the school, and realise how privileged we are here, with all the equipment and resources we have, plus the support networks, while children out there were from various backgrounds and were having to sign due to lack of equipment or funding. I have actually been back since, and my brother has also been twice now, and we both hold the school close in our hearts, and have done some fundraising for it. I plan to go back soon, with some of the DELTA volunteers! I went to Southampton to do an undergraduate four year Masters course in Environmental Sciences. Loved the four years, and made some great friends. I was also a mentor for disabled students and on the Union Council as a Disability Officer, where I nominated policies and ran awareness events at the university. During my course, I had the opportunity to go to Toronto, Canada to study there for six months, which was a great learning experience and a really rewarding experience. I also travelled after, which was lovely!
I am now working as an Environmental Consultant, and have been with the same company for three years since graduation. I am involved in various projects, from transport and climate change on an international scale, to governmental policies and plans in the UK. It is a rewarding job, and again, the fact that I cannot use the phone, has never been an issue- although I do have to remind my colleagues sometimes, and I do get emails saying where is my extn number (I work within a company of 400 + people!!). Clients have been fine, and I am project managing and task managing a wide range of projects in the UK and Internationally.
I have been doing various things in my free time, from volunteering, to travelling (been to Canada, America, SE Asia, India, Kenya, Tanzania and Europe to name a few!), to work placements, to various grants and extracurricular competitions such as Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Bank of England Target 2.5 and so on.
I got involved with DELTA when I was about 12 and have been a summer school volunteer ever since, and in recent years, have helped out on the admin/fundraising side, as well as meeting other deaf adults, which has been an invaluable opportunity to share knowledge and raise awareness in various ways. DELTA is something very close to my heart, and I believe in the work it has done, and I have seen the effects on families, both from my personal experience of my family and friends, but also, from the families that attend summer school overwhelmed, and leave with hope and optimism.
I also have, for just over a year, had a cochlear implant on my right side. Unfortunately, due to a chain of events, I was unable to wear a hearing aid in that side, and so this encouraged me to look at CIs and see whether it was a possibility. I am pleased to say that I have had an amazing first year with the CI and that I am hearing more information in terms of sound than before, and I can now actually use the phone with certain people! It has been one of the best things I have done- but I still wear my hearing aid in my left ear, and do not regret not getting the CI earlier as the hearing aids were more than sufficient, for the past 21 years, and I was still able to have a “normal” life and achieve various milestones along with my hearing peers. I am proud to be part of DELTA and to say that I am deaf but that it does not define me and never will. I am Tara and always will be!
Now – Tara updates her story
Thanks to the magic of video and technology in the last 10 years, Tara was able to give an update to her story by video!
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If you have liked reading Tara’s story, please consider giving a donation to DELTA to continue their work in supporting families of deaf children across the UK to enable their children to speak for themselves, naturally.
Read more DELTA Stories
We provide stories from more young deaf adults from across the UK and also from parents and professionals sharing their experiences of going through the Natural Aural Approach.
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