Read Agatha's story
"As my parents’ first born, there is no shying away from the fear and guilt they must have been feeling after my diagnosis. I can assure you – if you are reading this and feel or have felt the same way – it is totally normal. And I hope by reading my story you will feel reassured that your child can achieve and flourish just as much as a hearing child.
"I was born profoundly deaf, then attended The Elizabeth Foundation in my preschool years, before being fortunate to attend a mainstream all girl’s public school.
"I have two cochlear implants, my first one implanted at 6 years old and my second 10 years later. Cochlear Implants are nothing short of a miracle and, without sounding too dramatic, have saved my life!
"I would say that one of my biggest achievements in life is the success I have had with my cochlear implants. As I know this isn’t always the case for some, but for me this is purely down to the grit and determination of myself and my family. It’s no easy feat after implantation and it required a lot of will-power to get used to my “normal” hearing.
"My school days were filled with lots of brilliant memories, and I came away with incredible friends who never treat me differently from anyone else. After finishing my A-levels I set off on my gap year, which included a lot nannying for local families to save money before travelling in Australia and New Zealand for 3½ months. This was my first experience of managing and owning my deafness away from home and my comfort zone, and it didn’t stop me from doing the things I wanted to discover. In fact, I am desperate to go back to Australia soon!
"During my gap-year I decided university wasn’t for me, both socially and academically. So instead, I attended a one-year professional business secretarial course in Oxford. This was my first time living independently away from home with new people, and I would be lying if I said this was an easy transition in my life.
"I am sure this is the case for a lot of people but, of course, being deaf and accepting that amongst a new group of people made it feel extra tough sometimes. For the first time, I experienced complete exhaustion and times of isolation when the only social activities seemed to be in noisy pubs and night clubs.
"However, I am a big believer that those experiences make you stronger and through it all I have never for once wished I wasn’t deaf! It’s a part of me and has shaped me into the person I am… it just may have only taken me 21 years to work that out!
"Today, I am one year into my first job as a business PA for Sophie Theakston Jewellery and have been on a business trip to India and the USA. I have recently moved to London with a friend and now live in Clapham. I am absolutely loving it and everything London has to offer. Really nothing is getting in my way for a new and exciting chapter of my life!"
"I hope by reading my story you will feel reassured that your child can achieve and flourish just as much as a hearing child"