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Our staff here at NDC are truly invested in supporting the success of deaf students. Many of us are deaf and have personally navigated the deaf educational system. Some of us are parents of deaf children are we have been involved in the systems that support the success of deaf students. I’d like you to meet Arlene Ngalle, our program specialist. Arlene keeps NDC running behind the scenes, and is the driver behind the success of our live events. This is her story of being a Deaf student, and a mother to a Deaf teenager.

Hi! My name is Arlene Ngalle. I am Deaf, the daughter of a Deaf mother, and mother to a Deaf teenager.

My family’s support and their investments in me have made me who I am today — a confident, successful Deaf woman.

My mother was involved in every part of my chil dhood — academics, sports and extracurricular activities, and she helped guide me in my social life.

I remember when I was a teenager and entered a presentation contest. I was so nervous, but my mother sat down with me and helped me decide which topic to present, and how to best convey the information. She made sure that I understood the topic and was completely prepared for the contest.

On the day of the contest, though I was still nervous, her support allowed me to give my presentation with poise and confidence. Even though I got second place, I learned to believe in myself.

Her involvement and support filled me with the confidence and independence that I carry with me today. I was empowered by my mother to believe in myself and, because of that, I am able to break many barriers by educating myself and those around me.

As a mother myself, I am continuing the tradition my mother started with my Deaf teenager.

When my son joined the Spelling Bee, I made sure I was there to support him. Together, we reviewed all of the recommended vocabulary and made sure he understood the definition of each word. We practiced spelling together; I pretended to be a judge and my son would spell and define the vocabulary words to me.

I always am involved with my teenager’s life to ensure that I am empowering my child to be an independent person.

My wish is that every deaf teenager would have the same support I had growing up. Family support and high expectations are the keys to helping deaf teens develop self-advocacy skills, self-determination, and ultimately success. NDC’s resources can help.