Julia

Hello. I was born profoundly deaf. I come from a big hearing family. I have a brother who is two years old than me, and he is also deaf. We are the only deaf members in our family. Although we have no evidence, we are suspicious that our deafness is hereditary from my father’s side.

As a young child I was enrolled in various schools in Joliet before making the transition to Illinois School for the Deaf when I was 8 years old, and ultimately graduated from High School there. After High School, I went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of the colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. I graduated with a degree in applied science, Associate in Medical Record Technology. Following this I moved back home and started working in Health Information Management Department in St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet as a coder.

I obtained my certificate in Registered Health Information Technology, (R.H.I.T.) and Certified Coding Specialist (C.C.S.), which is significant, actually required for my job. After working a couple of years at St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, I was ready for a change and started working at Advocate Christ Medical Center, and have been working there for 10 years now. I began at Christ in a coder position and was promoted to Clinical Data Coordinator. I supervise 26 hearing associates. I am the only deaf person working within the Clinical Data Section. My supervisor knows how to sign and it helps make my job smooth.

I enjoy my work. I do the majority of training to new coders that are hired as well as continuing to educate those coders with many years of experience. How do I communicate with them? I mainly write or use email to communicate with them. I can read lips little but I am not very good at it, so I cannot rely on that method. Some of the coders know how to sign somewhat so that help, it is very encouraging that many of my associates are willing to try to learn. I do not know how to talk but I use various methods of communications such as writing, using emails, sign language and gestures. I use interpreters at meetings, as well as PowerPoint presentations to assist in communicating my messages.

I hope my story can inspire other deaf people to work hard to be the best they can. Being deaf in a hearing workplace has many challenges, but the satisfaction and fulfillment is well worth the ride. Set high goals, work hard to reach them!

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