Welcome to the Panther Podium, a new series from Adelphi Athletics, where student-athletes are given a platform to share their experiences as a student and an athlete -- in their own words -- both in print, in Adelphi's student newspaper The Delphian, and online at aupanthers.com on the first Friday of each month. In March's edition, women's lacrosse senior Allison Schneider gives thanks to her mom and dad on the 20-year anniversary of an event which changed their lives forever.
Mom and Dad,
When I was as young as nine months old, I would cry non-stop in the car when the music played. Where it would sooth others, it would not do the same for me.
I would not react when my name was called. It was evident to you both that I could not hear. Mom, after numerous doctors with the same response -- “She can hear!” -- and even one response along the lines of, “Deaf babies don’t laugh like that," you still insisted that I could not hear.
They don’t call it mother's intuition for nothing.
In the deaf community, there is a bridge that connects those who believe in the cochlear implant, and those who think that if you were born deaf, why change it? Dad, we both know we don’t see eye-to-eye on most decisions, but I can confidently say that you made the right move to have me implanted. For those who are unsure of what a cochlear implant is, it’s a medically-inserted device that is implanted in the cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear. It connects to a transmitter, worn over the ear, that captures and transfers audio to the brain.
I was implanted before my second birthday, making this March my 20th “earniversary.” I can only imagine how nerve-wracking those 24 hours were for you guys and my grandparents, especially my grandpa who is a worrywart. I cannot fathom the fear you both endured knowing a doctor was drilling a hole into my skull during this invasive surgery.
I know where my strength and perseverance originates.
Allie Schneider as a child with her parents, Liz and Steve, and brother, Kyle. (Photo: the Schneider family)
From the moment that I was turned on, you guys saw the glow that was in my eyes from that first sound I heard and knew that this was my “rebirth.”
This was the most significant start to a new chapter in all of our lives.
Thank you both for bringing me to the best preschool to learn how to speak and taking me to the best speech therapists there ever was -- even though I don’t remember them or anything they taught me. I was fortunate to have an amazing teacher for the deaf from kindergarten to fifth grade and form an incredible bond with her, since seeing her every day for six straight years. What I do know is that because of all of them, I am able to have conversations with peers and speak so well that people don’t realize I am deaf.
Growing up, you both always told me it was okay to be different and that I will have trouble hearing in crowds and a lot of background noise. I did everything “normal kids” did -- like playing on sport teams, including being a competitive swimmer, going to sleep-away camp and everything in between. (Side note: thank goodness I got the Schneider genes for my athleticism because Mom, we’ve all seen you try and attempt to play a sport.)
Because of all the opportunities given to me, I learned how to be independent like you, Mom.
I had to learn to be responsible at such a young age because I (okay, and maybe my mom, grandma, teachers, etc.) had to carry my own batteries and change them as soon as they died. This would happened anywhere from being at home to being away on a vacation.
With being deaf, I discovered my ability to become a good lip-reader. I have and still take full advantage of this talent. I probably know what you’ve said across the room at a party, and no, don't worry, you didn’t say anything too crazy! My dad and I can have full conversations without speaking a word. Dad, I’ll never forget that one time when I was in first grade and a trainer came to one of my basketball practices to explain all the lines on the basketball court. You’d mouth me the names of the lines and I’d raise my hand and say the term. The trainer was so impressed that I (you) had known all the names of the lines!
Certain aspects in the classroom were a struggle for me, especially reading comprehension and taking notes when the teacher would read the passage out loud. Because of accommodations, I was able to hear the passage as many times as I wanted and was allowed to ask the reader to stop so I could take notes. I had a speaker box on my desk and my teachers wore a microphone. Sometimes, they would forget to turn it off when they would speak to another teacher in the hallway....and the entire class would hear the (not-so) private conversation!
Allowing me to come to Adelphi and continue playing lacrosse was the greatest gift you could have given to me. Sports have and will always be my outlet and escape from life. Going to practice every day makes me happy, no matter how hard it is. When I am on the field, I forget that I am different, until someone calls my name and I don’t hear them! I have the most supportive friends and teammates, along with an incredible coaching staff, that are all accommodating and understanding. They bear with me when I answer “YES!” to questions like “What time do we have to be at the field tomorrow?” and we always laugh when I ask a question about something that was said a week prior to me asking. Is it annoying when I cannot hear my coach screaming on the other side of the field? Not always, especially when he’s yelling at us for whatever we did at that moment. (Sorry, coach!!!)
The thing I love most about being a part of the team at Adelphi is the bond that my teammates and I share with one another since we are all so close. Yes, it’s partly because we see each other almost every hour of every day -- but it’s mainly because we want to be. My favorite thing about being a part of my team is our dance parties before every home game. I sing at the top of my lungs, damage my teammates' ears, and dance it out with my friends. This is the best way my teammates and I get into game mode and after that last song is played, we mean business. I am truly going to miss being a part of this team next year -- and to the younger girls, please update your Snapchat story daily so I can be a part of it all.
I don’t let my deafness define me because there is so much more to me than my inability to hear.
Mom, you are my best friend and someone I can always confide in. Dad, even though we bicker like a married couple, you are the first person I come to talk to after a game -- and maybe when I need some cash too. :)
I could not envision my life any other way and because of you both, I have achieved more in life beyond anything I could've ever imagined.
Schneider dished off an assist for the women's lacrosse team in a 21-5 win vs. American International on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. (Photo: Chris Bergmann)