Lexi is 100% deaf. She has bilateral cochlear implants, which give her the ability to hear.
Coupled with the implants, a lot of hard work has given Lexi the ability to speak normally. In fact, when she wears her hair so that you can’t see her devices, you’d never even know she was deaf.
But when her hearing devices (we all call them “her ears”) aren’t on, she can’t hear. At all.
After Lexi pitched a couple of strong innings, the other team’s parents started yelling aggressively that Lexi’s ears were somehow an unfair advantage to her in the game.
Lexi’s coaches explained the technology to the game’s umpire, which I would think would have settled things. But what happened next was totally wrong:
The umpire suggested she take her hearing devices off and just use sign language to continue with the game.
Sadly, discrimination against kids with all kinds of special needs is a common occurrence; fortunately for Lexi, her mom as well as her coaches were well-informed and ready to defend Lexi’s right to wear her hearing devices during the game.
Editor update: Coolmompicks (http://coolmompicks.com/blog/2017/07/24/softball-umpire-asked-deaf-girl-to-remove-hearing-devices/) received a note from a parent from the competing team who states that “no one in any of our games (parents, coaches, or umpires) ever asked her to take off any kind of device…we didn’t know that she was deaf or that they were using a mic to talk to her.” As such, she refutes this story.
To read the entire article, as well as learn the rights of athletes with disabilities: http://coolmompicks.com/blog/2017/07/24/softball-umpire-asked-deaf-girl-to-remove-hearing-devices/
(image description: a young girl with a baseball helmet on and yellow baseball top and grey pants is standing on a base.)