Overcoming Obstacles: Kasey
HOW does Kasey hear? With her headshot in hand, two adorable Labradoodles, and a hearing aid and cochlear implant!
All About Me
Hi, I’m Kasey from Duxbury, Massachusetts! I am 10-years-old and will be starting fifth grade this fall. I have one older brother, one younger sister, and two Labradoodles (that’s a labrador + poodle) named Ollie and Finley. My family and I love spending time at the beach, but that’s not all I love to do! I also love reading, swimming, drawing, going to Broadway shows, playing basketball, softball, and volleyball. I even love sloths. My favorite thing of all is acting, and I have been lucky enough to perform in plays, commercials, and movies!
Hearing My Way
My hearing was normal until I was about four-years-old. Things started getting quieter, and I kept asking, “What?” all the time. I was diagnosed with enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVA) in my left ear but was told my right ear was fine. Shortly after my diagnosis, I tripped and fell on the playground, and when I stood up, the hearing in my right ear was completely gone. I soon got my first hearing aid and at age six got a cochlear implant in my right ear. I recently got a new hearing aid for my left ear that links sound to my cochlear implant.
At school I get to work with my teacher of the deaf, Cara Jordan. In addition to my hearing aid and cochlear implant, I also use an FM system in school. It is one of the accommodations set up through my IEP (Individualized Education Program). When my teachers wear the FM, I can hear everything they say clearly. Sometimes I even catch things they don’t want me to hear!
When I was just three-years-old, I went to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at a local community theatre. I was asked if I wanted to be in the play as a little bunny that helps Snow White tidy up the cottage. I said, “Yes!” and that’s how it all began. Since then, I have
been in many plays and have been fortunate enough to be cast in a few commercials and feature films. I love acting and being on stage. It allows me to tell amazing stories while making great friends at the same time. My favorite acting experience so far has been filming Daddy’s Home 2. I had a part in the last scene of the movie, and I got to meet famous actors Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlburg, John Cena, and John Lithgow. It was such a cool experience to see what goes on behind the scenes of a film, from production to sound to set design.
Sometimes when I go on auditions and meet casting directors for the first time, they wrongly assume that because I have hearing loss, I can’t speak well. That can be very frustrating, but I never let it hold me back from doing what I love.
I have made many great friends through school, acting, softball, and Girl Scouts. Even though I wear a hearing aid and cochlear implant, sometimes I’m still not able to hear my friends in noisy environments like the cafeteria. If I miss something, I try to be a good advocate for myself and speak up. One thing that really bothers me is if I say, “What?” a few times and people say, “Nevermind” or “I’ll tell you later.” They never tell me later—I wish they would tell me now! It helps to have friends with hearing loss to talk to because they just get it. I’ve made friends with hearing loss through school, the audiologist, local hearing loss groups, and Cochlear Kids Camp in Colorado.
Little Kid, Big Responsibility
Even though I have hearing loss, I’m just a regular kid. I do have to be very responsible for my age though because I am in charge of some very expensive hearing equipment. Let’s just say I definitely learned my lesson when my labradoodle puppy chewed my cochlear implant to bits, and I had to go without it for a few days. It’s a good thing he’s cute!
I look up to role models who have had to overcome challenges. Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton inspires me because she was bitten by a shark and lost her arm, but got back on her surfboard just a month later! Filmmaker Steven Spielberg got rejected from University of Southern California (USC) twice but kept applying and eventually got a scholarship to attend. They are amazing.
At the end of the summer my family and I are going to California. I can’t wait to see the Hollywood sign, take a studio tour, and go celebrity sighting. We will also visit Advanced Bionics’ headquarters where cochlear implants like mine are made!
The Final Act
Disabilities can become abilities if you let them. Hearing loss does not define me or what goals I can achieve. In the future I would like to be an actress, author, director, producer, lawyer and/or an animation editor!
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