There is No Magic During the Holidays Without Inclusivity

Submitted by Jaime Harter on Mon, 11/15/2021
Summary
As the holidays approach, do be mindful of those who want to be included.

Growing up, I’ve always loved the holidays with my family. At the same time, I’ve always dreaded the holidays with my family. I love the magic that surrounds the holiday, there is just something magical when you smell the turkey in the oven, when you see the décor hanging around the house, when you hear the chatter of family members that have travelled near and far to your home.

Spending the holidays with your family is something that just comes easy for most people, apart from the usual stress of cooking, providing food, travels, or dealing with the unpleasantries as we all do. On the other hand, there are those who deal with the stress of feeling left out, the uncertainty of speaking up to family members, or battling with the feeling of isolation.

As much as I love it when my family gets together, it gets exhausting for me to try to keep up with all the chatter. My brain and eyes work on overdrive, trying to read everyone’s lips while depending on both my cochlear implants to catch and comprehend every sound I hear. Ever since I’ve obtained my cochlear implants (C.I.), I can catch things without having to depend on lipreading which is somewhat of an improvement for me, but I am nowhere near perfect. You can imagine what it was like for me before getting the C.I.s – using only my hearing aids, I could not comprehend anything without having to also lipread.

The National Deaf Center has resources on how to achieve effective communication and inclusion during the holidays for your deaf loved ones - A Holiday for the Whole Family: Tips to Include Deaf Guests | National Deaf Center.

Unintentionally, I do become inclined to spend time with the ones I am comfortable with, knowing that I would not be left out. Again, I do not make these kinds of choices because I do not want to spend time with my family. I make these choices because the surroundings are less stressful and less isolating for me. Unfortunately, it just comes easy.

Even the smallest gesture means the whole world to someone like me. Include us in the whole joke, don’t procrastinate on filling us in with the conversation, turn on the closed captioning on the TVs, or tap our shoulder if someone is attempting to talk to us.

I am unsure if it’s just me, but I do wish that my family would think of me when it comes to those kinds of occasions, but I do not fault them for not keeping me in mind since I do not speak up for myself. As for the upcoming holidays or any other family events, do keep us in the forefront because we would love nothing more than just to be included wholly.  

 


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