When I read the article about Susan Elliot, I wasn't surprised about her accomplishments. She was one of teachers I had while I was in high school. Damned proud of her!
I grew up with the belief that once deaf persons become adults, they are put somewhere or put to sleep. (Odd thought, I know) But that belief was because I NEVER had seen a DEAF ADULT as a child and even in adolescene. So it was all a mystery to me. Susan Elliot was the first deaf adult I had ever encountered. I'm telling you, worlds opened to me when I met her! I asked her about her schooling, colleges, her goals (teaching.) She was a spark of life; you could say she brightened any room she comes in. I was there when she found out she would get the US West teacher award. Reporters came to the high school to talk with her and I realized then there that if she can be successful, so can deaf people! I found hope blooming within me.
I didn't stay with her all day in the deaf classroom because I was too advanced in education. I attended classes with interpreters but I saw her everyday, especially when it was time for homeroom. She was there when I had flashbacks of a childhood trauma; I started seeing a counselor with her encouragementand her pushing my mother to let me see a deaf counselor, no less! Another deaf adult!
I was aspiring to be a teacher like her. Knowing that deaf adults do live and that they can be successful, I joined the drama club, the biology club, the Future Teachers organization and debate club. I set up plans to go to college and I was accepted. It was then when I found out I don't like kids! Hahaha! I do like them but not enuff to teach them! I wasn't sure. It was when I remember the deaf counselor. I admit, it took years before I realized that mental health was right for my career after I worked at two organiations working with deaf clients with mental disorders! What can I say? Better late than never!
Nevertheless, it was Susan Elliot (thro I knew her with a previous last name, what do you expect..she was a Miss, not a Mrs when I met her!) that encouraged me to dare to DREAM. To KNOW that I can be successful. To realize that I can help people (thro in a different path than hers.) Thanks, Susan!