August 2018: Opening Up the World!

Dr. Jen Reesman from the Kennedy Krieger Deafness Evaluation and More clinic shares a story about Dr. Danielle Previ, a Kennedy Krieger trainee, PhD and graduate of Gallaudet University who is deaf and inspires patients who are also deaf or hard of hearing, and their families, by being a living example of all that can be accomplished.

Dr. Warren: Today, I'm joined by Dr. Jennifer Reesman. A pediatric neuropsychologist, who directs our deafness and hard of hearing clinic.  

Dr. Reesman: So, I'm a hearing person, and most of you listening, probably don't think of yourselves as hearing people. I do, because I'm a hearing person who had the privilege of training in two different languages. In America Sign Language and in English. And, studying and learning about deaf culture as I prepared for a career in working with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. And children who aredeaf and hard of hearing, their families, often come into contact with many professionals, teachers, therapists, doctors. And, lots of times, those professionals, are hearing people.

Dr. Reesman: Worldwide though, there are about 466 million people, or about 5% of the population, who are deaf or hard of hearing. And recently, one of my trainees, broke a huge glass ceiling. She became the first deaf psychology intern at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Dr. Danielle Previ, a fellow alumni of Gallaudet University.

Dr. Reesman: I had the privilege of supervising her work, and seen children and their response. They would widen their eyes, their jaws might drop, and they would look at her, when they realized, or when she told them, that she was a deaf person. Questions like, "And you work here?" Or, "Did anybody ever bother you and bully you for wearing hearing aids growing up?" And things like that. Things that they would never ask me.

Dr. Reesman: Parents also expressed appreciation for her work, her expertise, her presence as a deaf person. And many times, that was the first deaf professional that they had a meaningful interaction with. You could see the wheels turning, and parents re-imagining a future for their child. One with higher expectations, and a future rich with possibilities in language.

Dr. Reesman: I'm inspired by Dr. Previ. Someone who is already transforming the world, for children and families who come into our clinic. Witnessing this new generation of deaf professionals, and seeing first-hand how they open up the world for deaf and hard of hearing children, this brings me great joy.

Dr. Warren: Inspiring Moments is produced for WYPR by Kennedy Krieger Institute. I'm Dr.Lana Warren.