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Deaf Expressions

Some blogs should come with a warning label and Michele Bornert"s Blog is one of them. This blog is HILARIOUS! Bornert approaches her life as a Deaf wife, mother, and member of society with sarcasm, wit, and brutal honesty. Her love of humor writing prompted her to begin this blog in 2009. She says, "I wanted to get word out there of situations and things pertaining to the Deaf and HoH communities. Make us ‘heard" somewhere and make it entertaining enough to get hearing people to visit." "Hearies," who have many misperceptions about Deaf people and culture, will find themselves either blushing in shame or laughing in disbelief over their ignorance as she unfolds tale after tale of her interactions with the hearing.

Having enjoyed success as an actress, a singer, an artist, an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher, and a freelance writer, it"s an understatement to describe Bonert as multitalented. Her extensive publications appear in Many Voices Press, Survivorship, ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults) Reader, ALDA News, St Martin"s Press, Endeavor Magazine, and she also "won first place in a contest with Write it Write for a story I did about my deafness."

Michele Bornert is the wife of a hearing husband, Kenny, and the mother of three hearing children, Mollie, Jacob, and Natalie. Bornert was born hard of hearing and raised oral. In 2000, a failed cochlear implant in her left ear and the cutting of the auditory nerve in her right ear to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus left her "stone deaf." She speaks without an accent, which she found to be problematic after she became completely deaf.

As she realized she would soon lose all her hearing, Bornert hired an interpreter to teach her ASL, which she in turn taught to her husband. Because she solely communicates via ASL, her and Kenny"s three, now teenaged, children "were signing before they were speaking. Which is as it should be. Because Michele can"t lipread and can"t hear a thing no matter how loud it is, signing is not optional at their house. It"s the rule. No exceptions." The result of the rule is three children who sign fluently and a household that communicates well.

Since 2004, Bornert has been offering lessons in ASL and Deaf culture through the business, Deaf Expressions, that she and her husband created. With this revelation, it"s no wonder that her blog contains many helps on learning ASL or teaching it to your own children. She currently is accepting new private students in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area.

In her post entitled "Living the CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Life" Mollie, Jacob, and Natalie reveal how they feel about having a deaf mother. Aside from occasionally feeling burdened or bored by the necessity to interpret for their mother, the Bornert children readily embrace their multicultural life. What does their mom struggle with? Aside from needing to rely on her husband and children when pencil and paper does not adequately serve the purpose, Bornert says, that "it's a challenge to be Deaf around three hearing teenagers. I have no way of knowing if the kids sneak out or do something mischievous if I don't see it or hear about it from someone else." Ultimately though, their lives "show all the naysayers that deafness doesn"t really affect parenting in and of itself. Just like everything else in this world-different doesn"t mean worse."

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