Our family is an interesting mix of Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packer fans. What would have been just an average game for our family turned to a bit of passion as we we rooted for the Seattle Seahawks. My son eagerly awaited one very special player from special teams to run across the television screen – Derrick Coleman.
A few weeks back, Derrick Coleman inspired my son with this powerful Duracell commercial. With over 15 million views, it clearly has inspired many others.
Our favorite part – “They told me it was over. But I have been deaf since I was three, so I didn’t listen.” – Pure inspiration.
After watching the above commercial a few times, my 8 year old son stated, “I feel the same way. I can hear though. Derrick Coleman makes me want to work harder.” My son, who is an anti-bulling advocate, adds, “Mr. Coleman is right. Bullying hurts. It’s a big problem. What’s cool is that even thought Derrick Coleman was bullied, it did not hold him back at all.”
In “Derrick Coleman: The sound of silence in the NFL” Coleman states, “Everyone has a unique story and this just happens to be mine. You don’t want to be the same as everybody else. I wouldn’t be the type of person I am today if I didn’t have my hearing. I’d be somebody completely different. And I like the type of person I am today.”
We like you too Derrick! We like the wonderful things you are doing for your youngest fans. Thank you for sharing your motivational story through Duracell. Your one minute inspirational message spurs our youth to never give up, to always rise above the challenges. Your influential account encourages those with challenges to be tenacious even if they have to work harder than the rest.
Seeing Beyond the Deficit
Equally inspiring is Russel Wilson, Quarterback for the Seahawks. Wilson saw beyond the deficit to see the awesomeness in Coleman, something everyone with isms deserves. “Carroll (Seahawks Coach) would commit to signing him only to his 2012 practice squad, with the promise of a second look during 2013 training camp. That gave Coleman time to cozy up to Russell Wilson.
If he was going to make the team, he needed the quarterback to have his back. He couldn’t afford to confuse any play calls, audibles or verbiage. He was not going to give Carroll an excuse to cut him. He sat next to Wilson in team meetings and in the locker room. He told Wilson his story. The quarterback was all in.”
“I just always engage, always know that he’s there,” Wilson says. “And I kinda love it.”
Learn more about Coleman here: “Derrick Coleman Misses Nothing”
No one was more inspired than my 8 year old son. Mislabeled, misdiagnosed, and misunderstood since he was 3 years old, it was not until he turned 7 that we learned he had Central Auditory Processing Disorder. His hearing is normal, sometimes over-sensitive, but he can’t always understand what is being said. Although his speech therapist suspected an auditory processing disorder at the age of three, he could not be formally tested by an audiologist until he was 7.
“Children with APD may exhibit a variety of listening and related complaints. For example, they may have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, following directions, and discriminating (or telling the difference between) similar-sounding speech sounds. Sometimes they may behave as if a hearing loss is present, often asking for repetition or clarification.” (1)
Our son will not hear you if you talk to him from behind or across the room. Your voice will blend in with all the other sounds in the room. We cannot talk to him from another room like other parents can do with their children. We have to go into the room he is in, ensure that we have his attention and then speak to him. Likewise, teachers cannot call him from behind and expect that he will hear them.
His ability to hear is reduced in his left ear because of the type of CAPD he has. When he has trouble understanding or listening, he may turn his head to hear with his right ear. This is because the pathway of sound processing reaches the right ear quicker than the left ear.
His voice tends to be louder than others, not realizing when he needs to turn down his volume. Many get frustrated because he is too loud at inappropriate times. We just ask those to ask him to “turn down his volume”. He will comply.
If the room is noisy, he simply cannot hear you as you will blend in with the overall noise – like a loud hum. We have to lean down nose to nose to ensure that what we are saying is actually heard and if that does not work, we have to remove him to a quiet place so he can understand us.
He may struggle with following directions if there are extraneous sounds competing for attention – sounds that the average child could tune out. In the classroom, the sounds of people talking in the hall or the click clack of heels on the hallway floors will put him at a deficit to following directions or maintaining attention inside the classroom. Even during homework, he has trouble concentrating if the room is not completely quiet.
Like Coleman, his CAPD is molding the type of person he is and who he will become. He is tuned into his environment in ways not typical to his peers. He is very sensitive and attuned to the needs of others.
For example, when he was in first grade, during dismissal when all the kids are running out the door to greet their parents, our son stopped in his tracks. While all others were blissfully oblivious, he was keenly aware of a fellow classmate crying nearby. He rushed over and learned that the little boy could not find his parents. So he took the little boy to his dad and they found his parents.
Most recently, in a public environment, a blind man with a walking stick had found his way to a corner and could not find his way out. The man asked for help and my son, with his keen awareness was the first to jump to his aid.
Through the years, having been the recipient of taunts from classmates, he is growing into a champion of the underdog. He will be the first to defend someone who is being bullied.
He is still awaiting his Russell Wilson. Someone who can see beyond his isms and discover his awesomeness. But just like Coleman, he has supportive parents behind him who clearly see his awesomeness and encourages him to reach his dreams.
Although he is not deaf, processing sound is a huge challenge for my son, but it is an ism that will not stand in the way of his dreams. The inspirational message from Derrick Coleman has energized him. #TrustYourPower He rooted for Derrick and his teammates all night long – and it worked!
Bellis,, Teri James, PhD, CCC-A. “Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children.” Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) in Children. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.