Lindsey Jelinek

About Me

Hello, I'm Lindsey Jelinek. I am originally from Atkinson, Nebraska. I am profoundly deaf. I have bilateral cochlear implants. I got my first cochlear implant at 18 months and my second CI at 5 years old. I use oral communication and sign language.


Education

I attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School for grades K-8. Then I attended West Holt High School for grades 9-12. I had accommodations in place to be successful in school and sports; IEP, sign language interpreter, FM system, and small class sizes. Currently, I am a junior in college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am majoring in Elementary Education, and following graduation, I will get my master’s degree in Deaf Education.


Work Experiences

As a full-time student in college, I currently coach club volleyball at VCN here in Lincoln. Also, I am involved with the Nebraska Regional Programs and enjoy it when I get the opportunity to interact with deaf and hard-of-hearing kids from all over the state at the activities. This school year, I plan on subbing at the elementary level in LPS. In high school, I worked at a local motel and did housekeeping tasks there. For a few summers, I worked for a local landscaping company and flower shop.


Hobbies and Interests

In my free time I enjoy reading, baking, water skiing, snow skiing, traveling, hanging out with family & friends, watching Husker volleyball & football (GO BIG RED!), and binge watching a good tv series!


Family

I am the only deaf person in my family. So, I grew up in a hearing household. My mom knows basic signs. Sign language was used frequently at home when I was younger, but not as much as I got older.


Being mainstreamed in schools growing up where there was no other deaf student in a small town made me realize how important the role of my Deaf Educator is. Having that support was instrumental in encouraging me to be involved and meet my deaf and hard-of-hearing peers at the Nebraska Regional Program activities. Along with that, I learned very useful strategies and ways to advocate for myself from my Deaf Educators. Having that support growing up motivated me to be a Teacher of the Deaf. I want to be a part of that support system for other deaf/hard-of-hearing kids.


Advice

To the kids: Get involved with the Nebraska Regional Programs. Go to the regional activities and meet other kids with hearing differences. When I first started attending these activities, I felt like my parents forced me to attend. Eight-year-old me sure felt like they were the meanest people in the whole world for doing that. There were a lot of tears ;). The more activities I went to, the more connections and friendships I made. Looking back, I am so grateful I got to be a part of that, and after all, my parents weren’t the meanest. Attending these activities I was able to make friends who can relate to what it is like having a hearing loss. These friends are a text/FaceTime call away today!


To the families: Be understanding and think about what it is like to be in the shoes of someone with a hearing difference. Knowing that any kind of hearing amplification is not a fix is extremely important. Yes, it does help us hear, but it is not perfect by any means. When we wear our devices for long periods of time, it can be exhausting. It is draining as we are constantly being alert, working harder than a hearing person does to process sounds and speech, and some of us lip-read. So, giving time to be in silence/device free, can make a world of difference.


As an adult, looking back, I wish my parents and brothers were more fluent in sign language. In a way, I always felt like I was accommodating to their way of conversing after putting in a lot of work throughout the day to hear and interact with those in my hearing family and community. Just know and understand that individuals with hearing loss put in a lot of hard work to interact and communicate! Overall, be your child’s advocate and support them in advocating for themselves.