INTRODUCTION

Dr Abdulkadir Mohammed is a Deaf Medical Doctor. He hails from Ilorin, Kwara State. He is presently a consultant family physician at State General Hospital, Ilorin.

Meet Dr. Abdulkadir Mohammed as he shares his story with Inclusive News Network (INN) to encourage others

JOURNEY INTO DEAFNESS

I lost my hearing at the age of 8 years in 1986. It was as a complication of mumps infection that I had previously. It all happened suddenly. I woke up that fateful morning and everything was blank. My parents first took me to University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin and subsequently to University College Hospital, Ibadan. Hearing aid was recommended and purchased which I refused to use. I was too young then. Looking back now and reflecting, I think, I rejected the use of hearing aid because it didn’t help me much and other pupils weren’t using such device. We also tried several tradomedical practitioners, churches and Alfas to no avail.

COPING WITH DEAFNESS

I missed a whole first term in school after the onset of my deafness while still searching for solution. However, I resumed school during the second term of primary two. It was the same normal school that I was attending prior to the onset of deafness. My family agreed to give it a trial and see whether I could cope. I was a brilliant student, somehow, I managed to adjust seamlessly. Looking back now, on reflection, a lot of factors aided my adjustment. Everything was written on the board in primary school, so all I had to do was follow. I didn’t even know when I mastered lip reading. I didn’t know I was the only one deaf. I just assumed that it is something that happened to everyone. Also on reflection, I seem to have deliberately avoided focusing on my deafness or completely ignored it. I just seemed to move on in life.

Was there any discrimination at school? Honestly I don’t know and if there was, I didn’t bother about it. Just sort of blanked it off.

I completed primary and secondary school in a normal school. My coping method was a combination of lip reading, independent study and relying on my classmates for specific assistance when needed. I was a brilliant student and I had learned along the way that when you are among the very best, your deafness will become almost irrelevant and fade to the background.

I gained admission to study Medicine and Surgery at the University of Ilorin after my secondary education.

CONTACT WITH SIGN LANGUAGE AND HOW IT HAS HELPED.

My first actual meaningful contact with sign language was in my 400L at Medical School. Prior to this time, I didn’t use or learn sign language. Examinations were mostly written which didn’t pose much of a challenge. However, from 400l onward, there was the clinical and practical aspect of examination in medical school which involves interaction with patient and oral interviews. Communication need became more critical for me. Therefore, I visited the Centre for Supportive Services for the Deaf which exists in the University for the purpose of learning sign language. It became inevitable for me to use the sign language in my line of profession and the need to communicate effectively to understand my patients.

I work with a sign language interpreter on daily basis in my practice.

ADVICE

My advice to every deaf person is that we should see ourselves as special and trust that God has a purpose for each and everyone of us. A great purpose in fact! With this mindset, whatever we do in life, we should do it well.

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