This past summer at the Usher Syndrome International Conference, I met Clare W. Clare is a high school student and is very involved in her cheerleading squad. Clare has decided to share her experiences about cheerleading, when it comes to cochlear implants.
One. Two. The two words highly critical for cheering on the sidelines. Thanks to my cochlear implants, I can hear the call to turn around and face the crowd to cheer my team on. I always wondered what life would be like if I never cheered or if I even hadn’t had cochlear implants at all.
Aged one and a half, I had left a world of silence and embarked on a journey into a world of sound. MAPping programs, battery changes, speech therapy, doctor’s appointments were a big part of my young childhood. Another part of my childhood was dance. From the time when I was four years old until I was nine, I took ballet, tap, and jazz lessons. I hadn’t danced for a while until I was in fifth grade and I heard the announcement for cheer tryouts.
I loved cheerleading since it was, in a way, similar to dance. I found that I loved to move simultaneously with a group and cheer my team on at football and basketball games. As time went on, I learned how to distinguish the calls and chants in between the noise of the ref’s whistle, the players grunting on the football field, the sound of the thundering footsteps of the basketball players as they race down the court, and the crowd cheering. Being able to be a cheerleader is something I have to thank my cochlear implants for because, without them, it would be so difficult.
There are times when it is hard to do some things like stunting with matching the counts as they’re called out to the rhythm of the stunt. I love cheering in front of the stunt groups, knowing that I am doing my very best, and being able to hear has enhanced my love of cheering. – Clare W.
Biography-My name is Clare, I am seventeen years old and live in the U.S. I was first implanted at age two and received my second implant at seven years old. My CIs have allowed me to do so many things and i am blessed to have the ability to hear.