Carolyn Bulsink


Deafness and determination: My life story

I was born in Owen Sound, Ontario. My parents found out that I am deaf and have mild cerebral palsy. At first, I couldn’t walk at all. My doctor thought I would not be able to walk and would be in a wheelchair for life. My mom told the doctor that she would help me walk no matter how long it took me to learn. Finally I started to walk when I was 4 years old, which surprised her.

The deaf school in London suggested that she put me in the school for the deaf. She refused the offer and decided to keep me at home, as she knew it was not a good fit for me. I had a teacher, Brent Paul, come to my house once a week to help my family to communicate with me. I went to regular school with my siblings and of course I got the support from school having an interpreter and helping me achieve all my goals.

In grade 8, I was told I needed another interpreter to attend high school in a different sign language (American Sign Language). I hadn’t even learned sign language at that time and I had to learn so I could easily understand high school.

I kept getting support from school and they suggested I get a co-op placement so that I can get a job easily, My first placement was a three-month co-op at the Flower Expressions. I ended up getting hired there, so I moved to Kitchener and worked for them for three years.

After that, I found myself into the entertainment industry in Toronto. I volunteered at Toronto International Film Festival for a while, Female Eye Film Festival for few years, and worked for a fashion designer, managing the site as a blogger for a year.

I realized this career is what I want in my life so I’m staying in the industry.

I am really proud of my mom’s determination to work really hard to help me succeed in life. If anything, I could give her credit for being so strong. I want my mom to get the respect she deserves after helping me so much.