Skip to content

My story, my career path - Laura Sampson

Laura is an NDIS Support Coordinator. She has a passion for working with families and helping children reach their potential.

Tell us about your diagnosis as a child?

I was born hearing up to the age of 18 months old, I become unwell with a virus, and lost my hearing. I have a profound hearing loss.

If and what age were you fitted with a hearing aid or cochlear implant and what was that like?

At 18 months old I was fitted with hearing aids up to the age of 26 years. I always knew I was missing out on what was going on. There was a time at 18 years of age to have a cochlear implant but was not ready to take on something new and had not seen others with cochlear Implant. I worked at Taralye and I was seeing the amazing difference with children before and after the cochlear Implant, so I went and had one at 26 years old.

Are you oral and if so, what was your experience like learning spoken language?

I am oral, use spoken language, I grew up with hearing family, I do remember as a child going to speech therapy, and my family helping to pronounce the words correctly.

Do you use Auslan, why did you decide to learn and at what age?

My family tried to introduce sign language at the time of 6 years old, I refused to learn.

In my early 20’s I become involved in the deaf community and learnt through friends and community events.

How did you communicate within your family and amongst friends?

I communicated with my family with spoken language, my family was aware that they made sure I was able to see their faces when they were talking to me, and I asked what was going on when I was not understanding the conversation.

Tell us about going to school - what was that like? What were the worries you had that you remember?

Secondary college was hard, wanting to be accepted by my peers, I was always using excuses not to bring in my FM into classes, I found it difficult to make friends in a group situation, because I could not keep up with the conversations, so I had a few close friends. I was always angry at my hearing loss, and was determined to show that I could do just as well as everyone without having to use FM. I also had Note takers or Aides, I found that patronizing, and it was dumbing down my intelligence in front of my class, when I only had hearing loss.

And tell us about going to Uni or TAFE - what was that like?

I had a 2-year break after year 12, I was working, and wanted a break from the education system and supports. When I went to Tafe, I was much more accepting of notetakers, and was much more comfortable and accepting of my hearing loss.

I enjoyed doing the courses that I was undertaking. I was able to focus on listening to the teachers and not have pressure to recall what was said.

What influenced your career choices?

I had always known that I wanted to work with children.

Do you love what you do?

I love working with children and families, support them to be the best family unit they can be with their choices.

What are your main challenges?

My main challenges were when growing up was feeling different from everyone. Not being able to fix the hearing loss and escape from having to wear hearing aids every day, but I was very dependant on them to help me to be aware of my surrounds and the need to hear and communicate.

And how did you overcome them?

Over the school years being introduced to other deaf, HOH through Teacher of the deaf, on outings and deaf camps, I started not to feel so Isolated, and alone, having peers that had the same understanding, and not judged.

What key message would you give parents who are starting out their journey with a deaf/hard of hearing child?