Young Adult Spotlight – Jade Coultman

“Be the change you want to see in the world. If you see something you do not like, change it. If there is something missing that you do not think it is right, create it.”

I was identified at 2.5 years old after my mother took me to eight different physicians as my speech was delayed. Everyone said everything was fine, I was considered a late bloomer. Thankfully the eighth doctor suggested for me to get a hearing test, which led to my bi-lateral, profound to severe hearing loss diagnosis. Fitted for hearing aids right away, I was enrolled in intensive speech therapy sessions and early intervention programs at the age of three. Later, I attended mainstream school where I was the only one who had a hearing loss. I was taunted, bullied, made fun of because I was different, and wore hearing aids. I would find myself getting home emotionally and physically exhausted from a full day of active listening. I would find myself asking the question, “why me, why do I have a hearing loss, this is not fair”.

On top of my hearing loss I also learned that I had a learning disability, dyslexia. After graduating high school, I enrolled into the Real Estate program, I thought it would be a great way to be my own boss! At the same time, I attended a Deaf Leadership Youth Camp in Ontario. There, I had a culture shock. It was there that I realized that deafness comes in many forms, orally deaf to culturally Deaf. One of the takeaways was to go back into your community and become involved. I did this by raising three service dogs for the Pacific Assistance Dog Society, as well as supporting the Alberta Hands and Voices Parent Support Group. In addition, I even joined the Calgary Association of the Deaf and the Calgary Canadian Hard of Hearing Association branch.

Getting involved has also helped me embrace my hearing loss. For example, when I attended the International Congress for the Hard of Hearing People in Vancouver 2008. I came to accept who I was, who I am, and why I am here. To tell people what I can and cannot hear. To raise awareness, there is a reason for our existence, for me to have to go through all this trouble and trauma to make me into the person I am today. Hearing loss is just doing something a little bit differently, to show the world a different perspective – even our tiniest actions can create a ripple effect that benefit generations to come. I know that if I can make this place better than what I entered this world, I have done my job. My dream is for Canada to be the best place to live living with a hearing loss. To be barrier free and inclusive, to be able to walk anywhere and have the accessible communication provided from assistive listening devices to CART, whichever the mode of receiving the information best fits for the individual.

Today, Jade has been running a successful Real Estate and Property Management Business for the past 13 years, often helping those in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. She is also in the process of completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Minor in Business Management at St. Mary’s University. In her spare time, she manages a successful youth camp in Alberta aptly called “Jade’s Camp” for kids ages 7 to 18 years old.