My grandparents (first cousins in an arranged marriage) had 8 children, two of whom were profoundly deaf and attended schools for the deaf. I grew up learning a smattering of sign language, but both also used spoken language albeit with deaf quality voices. My mother was a master at communicating with them using sign and spoken language. There was never a moment when the family treated them as "different" and that has stayed with me.
As a senior in high school heading to college, but with no idea what I wanted to do, a classmate told me about speech therapy. After some investigation I applied to colleges with that major; I focused on speech pathology for three years and then "found" audiology. The rest is history—I ultimately received a master's degree in audiology, and though semi-retired, still consult and love what I do. I found many ways at local, state, and national levels to give back to this awesome profession and treasure every experience. I would not trade any moment in this profession for anything else.