A silent upbringing
Bijou student adapted to parents being deaf

       Editor's note: The following article is reprinted with permission from the Bijou Bulletin, the publication for the Bijou School, an alternative District 11 high school on the Westside.

By Britta Herrin

       Imagine growing up as a baby, a child, and a teenager unable to speak with your parents. That's the life of 17-year-old Bijou student Jacob “Jakup” Arellano. Both of Jakup's parents are deaf. His dad was born 100 percent deaf and his mom only 75 percent, though she got progressively worse with age. In fact, when Jakup was born, his parents thought he also was deaf. Fortunately, he was not, although the chances of his going deaf as he gets older are higher.
       About a year ago, Jakup's mother had cochlear implant surgery. The implant allows her to to hear about the same as you and me.
       Growing up, his mother taught him and his older brother to sign, which they learned to do before speaking. Both of Jakup's parents work at the Colorado Springs Deaf and Blind School, superivising the dorms.
       There are many ups and downs to having deaf parents. Daily routine involves interpreting to the hearing public whenever the family goes out. Life at home is usually silent except occasional barking of the two dogs. In fact, up until three years ago the Arellano family had one of the first hearing dogs given to a family in Colorado Springs.
       If anything, this life has taught Jakup a new appreciation for parents and his relationship with them. “It's hard to have much of a relationship with them… I can't really have deep, important conversations with them,” states Jakup. A senior at Bijou this year, Jakup hopes to graduate this year and eventually work with video relay. Video relay is a type of interpreting service available to the deaf. This service allows them to communicate with others through their home television.