“I have never let my hearing loss stop me from doing anything I set my mind to. I want to show others that deaf or hard of hearing kids are just like regular kids, and we want to be included and accepted just like you.”
Discovering Hearing Loss
Harper was diagnosed with Pendred Syndrome (PS) while she was still in utero. The day she was born she failed her newborn hearing screening. Two weeks later, Harper was brought back in for the ABR test. Harper’s mother said they were lucky to learn Harper’s diagnosis at birth because early detection allowed for early intervention. Navigating with Pendred’s Syndrome has been a little easier for Harper since she looks up to her older brother who was diagnosed with PS as well. A life with hearing loss is all Harper has ever known.
Life for Harper
Now, Harper wears her hearing devices during waking hours. In school, Harper has access to accommodations needed to optimize her learning experience. She has preferred seating, uses the mini-mic when needed, receives notes in advanced, and has closed captions on videos. Although life with hearing loss is all Harper has ever known, she doesn’t let that stop her from anything. She loves to read new stories and writes her own as well. It was evident that Harper was destined for the spotlight when she performed in her school play a year ago. On top of that, she is also a fearless competitor and heavily involved in her school’s sports program. She has played on a competitive basketball travel team for years, and is the first girl to play on her middle school’s flag football team. Harper has never been intimidated nor has she let her hearing loss hold her back.
“I can’t imagine missing out on music and laughter. Mostly, I just think I am able to do anything my hearing friends can do. I don’t really think about being different. I’m just a normal kid who loves to play sports, read, and try new things.”
Why Harper is a HearStrong Champion
Harper is a HearStrong Champion because she doesn’t view her hearing loss as something that stands in her way. She’s aware that it is a part of her, but in no way limiting. When her classmates ask about her devices, she is proud to inform them that they are like glasses for her ears. She has even written a children’s book with her mother about her journey to help other children who have hearing loss. There is nothing that Harper can’t do, and she wants other people with hearing loss to feel the same way. Harper’s confidence, hard work, and dedication allow her to pursue every goal she sets for herself.
“I want to show kids with hearing loss that they can do anything. Part of why I love sports is to show everyone that even if you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can compete and play hard.”