Suspected by a medical professional of being ‘very deaf or incredibly stupid’ at the age of three, Stuart McNaughton was later diagnosed as profoundly deaf. His parents fought the system that seemed intent on confining him to education in a school for the deaf. With the support of one Headmaster, Stuart endured a mainstream education and emerged triumphant.
Then, tragedy struck again with a further hearing loss in his teens. After years of struggle, the implantation of an electrode into his inner ear would change his life.
He Is Not Me explores themes such as childhood bullying, discrimination in the workplace and the conflict between the deaf and hearing worlds.
The cochlear implant has been hailed as one of mankind’s most amazing inventions and He Is Not Me is a compelling and moving account of life as a profoundly deaf child and a hearing adult.
We asked Stuart about the book and he told us: "Over the years, many people have been interested in different aspects of my life, be it through my ability to lipread other people's conversations from a very young age to making my first telephone call at the age of 23."
He goes on to explain that his wish for writing He Is Not Me was so that other people's lives could be changed, just like his has been.
In a moving part of the book, he writes: Somewhere out there is a child, a lonely child who need not be. Somewhere out there are frustrated, worried parents who need not be. Somewhere out there are the bullies, knocking our confidence, holding us back.
In his own words, Stuart tells of his long journey to hearing. Moments of anger, laughter, emotion and determination combine on Stuart's journey to become the one thing he truly wanted to be: hearing.
Throughout the book, Stuart heaps praise on the professionals who succeeded in
putting him back together again: the headmaster who gave him his first opportunity; the teacher for the deaf who became a family friend and felt like the only constant throughout an uncertain childhood; the audiologists who sought to deliver the best care they could; the registrar who listened that day, and started Stuart off on his journey back to the hearing world.
When asked about the name of the book, he tell us: "For more than twenty years, I lived between two worlds. When I look back, I feel as if I have had the opportunity to live in two different bodies, for I have certainly lived two very different lives. As my memory starts to fade in relation to my early years, I relate very little to the old me. In fact, I am glad that He Is Not Me anymore."
To listen to a special message from the author, click here.
Stuart McNaughton lives in London, United Kingdom, and is currently employed by Advanced Bionics as Manager of the Bionic Ear Association (BEA), a platform aimed
at supporting cochlear implant candidates through their hearing journey.
He Is Not Me is the author's own work and the views expressed therein are his own.
Copyright © 2014 - Stuart McNaughton