As I asked the challenging questions to David Langley, he gladly answered with ease. He had no problems with opening the doors to his personal life, and it was amazing what he shared.
Langley is a student at the University of West Alabama. He is a major in Computer Information Systems. Langley is a bright and outstanding students among his peers and is also a great individual to know. Although it seems Langley has it all together, he faces a challenge many people probably wouldn’t believe: he lives with his two parents, both suffering from hearing loss.
Bobby and Leslie Langley of Waverly, Alabama both suffered from hearing loss before the age of 10.
“My dad went deaf at age one and mom at age seven” said Langley. “I actually was supposed to be deaf at age 10”.
Now a junior at UWA, he hasn’t had any problems.
“Dad has a series of ear infections that destroyed the cilia in his ear. I don’t believe it’s called anything. Mom had several childhood diseases that resulted in the same thing. She doesn’t even know what they were called,” Langley said.
Ultimately, his parents met when they attended the Talladega School for the Deaf and Blind.
“They were high school sweethearts,” Langley said.
Many would ask how Langley grew up, learned his first words, and of course how to communicate with his parents.
“My first words were technically signed,” Langley said. “I wasn’t even two years old when I was doing basic signing.”
Because of a language barrier, it delayed David to start his first words.
“I didn’t start talking until I was four or six,” Langley said. “I only did that because of a daycare keeper that was from New Jersey. So I had a New Jersey accent up until I was about 15.”
He tells that he never really figured out his parents were deaf.
Growing up with deaf parents also had a big communication gap.
“There was always a communication barrier between me and my parents,” Langley said. “Even though sign was my first language, my parents spoke in a different context than me. I can describe it best as Spanish dialect in English.”
The language barrier is still a big challenge even for the Langley’s today.
“To this day we have not overcome this. I can’t sign my words in a different order than I speak” Langley said. “A normal sentence that reads ‘My name is David,’ would be spoken as ‘David my name’ by them. It’s just something I can’t bring by myself to do, and that is the only way they know how to communicate.”
As far growing up socially, David says his home life affected him socially, especially once he started school.
“I was always the outcast in school,” Langley said. “I didn’t know how to interact with people because I had been around deaf family the entire time. I didn’t know how to trust or treat people until I got to college.”
Branching out to more people was new to Langley as well.
“I honestly always wanted to be social and have friends, I just didn’t know how to do that,” Langley said.
Langley also says distance was a problem as well.
“I lived 25 minutes away from the school,” Langley said. “I went to and I was out in the middle of nowhere in a town of fewer than 300 people. Most being over the age of 50. I was more accustomed to the elderly than the youth. Needless to say that all change upon arriving at UWA.”
Langley also stated that he feels he wasn’t as prepared for the college environment.
“My parents tried their best, but they sheltered me from a lot of things that I honestly should have encountered before I got to college and set out on my own,” Langley said. “I love my parents, but the environment they provided wasn’t ideal for facing the real world. I had so many wake-up calls during my first year of college and made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided had I encountered them earlier in my life.”
Although Langley saw many obstacles growing up, he considers them a learning experience.
“My most valuable lessons have come from my friends around me here at UWA,” Langley said. “I’m thankful for the life I have had and the life in front of me, but the leap from home to college and adolescent to adulthood. I had to learn the hard way what was right and what was wrong.”