Hard of Hearing Adult, Parent Representative
Colleen is a hard of hearing adult and the mother of a hard of hearing teenage daughter. Colleen uses total communication, meaning she can communicate by sign language, oral or both. She grew up mainstreamed and had a resource room with other kids to allow her to focus on tests or have speech therapy. Colleen states that she had amazing support, with her resource/deaf educator and her Drama teacher – who ended up being the reason she is no longer quiet or fears public speaking. She ended up doing musicals and speech competitions in high school, and won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in them.
Colleen has been married to her husband Steve for over 16 years, and they have two beautiful children, Evelyn – Age 15 and Dade – Age 14. They are 10.5 months apart - Irish twins! 🙂 Evelyn was born deaf and uses total communication (sign language, oral or both). Dade can hear fine, aside from his "selective" hearing. Colleen and Evelyn have taught Steve and Dade sign language, and their family works together to communicate effectively in whatever language they are using.
As a mother, Colleen is a strong advocate for her children, and she encourages other parents to do the same, stating "no matter what the circumstances are, always go with your gut. You know your child the best!" Steve and Colleen work together as a team, especially when preparing for and attending IEP meetings. She states that they always come prepared, taking time to review previous IEPs and progress, write down questions, and set goals that are needed for Evelyn to succeed. Colleen encourages parents to stand up for themselves and their child...it goes a long way.