Sundeep Kothari works with VAANI, Deaf Children’s Foundation as an Assistant Trainer and Deaf Role Model. VAANI is proud to project him as an ideal role model for young deaf children – articulate, gentle, educated and talented. Sundeep works comfortably with parents and children and his presence is an inspiration to participants at VAANI workshops. Sundeep lost his hearing when he was around one year old, due to wrong medicines given by a doctor for his high fever. His parents only realized that he had lost his hearing when he wouldn’t respond to any sound or to their calls.
It worried his parents a lot because they did not know what to do with their deaf child. They went to various doctors with the hope of curing his deafness, but no one could help. Sundeep was admitted to a regular school in Ranchi where he was the only deaf child. A few days of undergoing the traumatic experience of being punished and scolded by the teacher and being bullied by other children, got Sundeep so scared that he refused to attend school at all.
Sundeep moved to Kolkata with his mother when he was six years old. He was initially admitted to a special school but his parents were not satisfied with his progress in speech and his studies. His parents took him to Chennai to get him checked by an ENT Specialist. He told them that Sundeep was a healthy child, and it was only his hearing loss that had affected his speech. He advised them to get him a set of hearing aids and admit him to The Oral School for Deaf Children in Kolkata This is where Sundeep learnt American Sign Language, took his speech training and completed his secondary education from the National Open School. Sundeep has been wearing his hearing aids the whole day since he was six years old.
Before he took admission into The Oral School, his mother spoke to him only in Hindi, but she underwent a course in English as per his teacher’s advice. She also would regularly observe the interaction between him and his teacher. She persisted in her efforts to make sure Sundeep learnt well and applied his knowledge better. His father made sure that he told Sundeep the names of roads, and keep him informed of bus routes whenever they travelled together. His father also taught him how to make electricity bill payments and bank transactions while he was still a teenager. This has gone a long way in making Sundeep independent and confident. His parents are like friends to Sundeep, and that has made a world of difference to his personality.
Sundeep got married to a hearing impaired girl called Payal and they have a two year old hearing daughter. Their daughter understands both her parents really well and is a natural signer even at her young age.