Deaf blogger Husna Naleer not shy of writing about sensitive issues affecting people with hearing impairments
Just 25 years old Husna Naleer is out to spread greater awareness and sensitisation about the issues affecting the deaf community through her blogs.
From polite ways to interact with deaf people to deaf anxiety triggers Husna Naleer’s blog Insight into a Deaf World is a frank and honest portrayal of issues relating to the deaf community.
Husna is from Sri Lanka and did her early education in India at the Balavidyalaya School for Deaf in Chennai where she was greatly influenced by the late founder and principal Saraswathi Narayanaswamy. She credits the Balavdiyalaya team and her parents for encouraging her to be her own person.
“Mrs. Saraswathi and the team of Balavidyalaya pushed us to achieve in all walks of life and integrated us into the mainstream society. They also played a part in changing people’s perspective of the Deaf community. My parents played a tremendous role in influencing me and pushing me to achieve when I had self-doubts and low esteem”, says this 25-year-old who is currently studying English literature and linguistics at the University of Colombo.
Aims to build awareness
Husna says she started the blog to create awareness about the deaf community.
Many people think if a deaf person wears hearing aids or cochlear, they “magically” hear as ordinary people. To get to this point, we have overcome obstacles, gone through injustice and misunderstandings, which a deaf person could relate to. Throughout my interactions with ordinary people, I found out that none of them have come across a Deaf person or have awareness about the deaf community. They did not know how to interact with me, and I had to show them I could communicate just like other children. – Husna Naleer, Deaf blogger
Deaf mental health a special focus for Husna
“Deaf mental health is not widely known. The moment I came across the term, I felt like it has given a meaning to the struggles. It was my deaf anxiety that kept me from opening to people. I want to create awareness not just for the hearing community but also Deaf/Hard of Hearing parents because it affects the child self-esteem for life”.
Husna’s blogs have touched a chord for many. Suchitra Narayan, a special educator and parent to a deaf adult, says they will help raise greater understanding.
“People with disabilities face many struggles when it comes to processing information and this is different for different disability types”, says Suchitra, who is also the founder of Sanskriti, a resource centre in Kochi that works to build inclusion.
“As someone who has been working in this field for over 30 years, I am aware of the struggle people with disabilities go through. This causes a lot of anxiety even among disabled people in high profile roles. They have anxiety about fitting into the mainstream and as parents and special educators we also push them to fit in. These are difficulties they rarely talk about”. By articulating their feelings, Husna is helping to sensitise the larger world. “Long term anxiety can cause depression and accommodations need to be made keeping in mind the stresses that come while living with a disability”.
Husna is encouraged by the responses to her blogs. “People are glad they have a source to turn to when in doubt. They have given me a positive reaction for clearing the misconceptions and myths surrounding the deaf and hard of hearing. The positive feedback and encouragement motivate me to keep the blog up”.
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