In her autobiography Seeds of Disquiet, Cheryl Heppner writes of experiencing severe hearing loss twice. Spinal meningitis caused a profound loss of hearing when she was six, and for the next 18 years she worked hard to live the life of a “normal” hearing person. Through exhaustive work in speech therapy and speechreading, she excelled in school and college, performing Herculean feats without the assistance of trained interpreters or notetakers.
Then, when she was 25, two strokes left her completely deaf. For the next 20 years she worked to recreate her life through sign language and the Deaf community. The process stunned her by revealing how much she had missed before. Initially embittered, Cheryl Heppner later went on to use her astonishing energy as an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Seeds of Disquiet celebrates her accomplishments, the most significant of which, perhaps, was her reconciliation with her loved ones from her former life with her new outlook.
Cheryl Heppner is the former director of the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons (formerly Fairfax Resource Center for the Hearing-Impaired) in Fairfax, VA.