Giuliana Siraguso is like most middle school girls – a passionate dancer as well as lover of gymnastics, art, tennis, swimming, journaling, reading, any type of art. She adores hanging out with her friends and family.
She is also hearing impaired.
When Giuliana was born she failed her newborn hearing test at the hospital, and was later diagnosed with mixed hearing loss, specifically Auditory Spectrum Disorder (ANSD), which is a problem in the transmission of sound from the ear’s innermost part (the inner ear) to the brain. She was also diagnosed with Sensory Hearing Loss (SNHL), a type of hearing loss, or deafness, in which the root cause lies in the inner ear or sensory organ (cochlea and associated structures) or the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII).
Now 12 years old, Giuliana attends Discovery Middle School in Liberty, Mo., and relies heavily on lip reading. She’s become an advocate for herself in a classroom or even social environment because placement is key in order to have a good understanding of what is going on around her. Advocating for her self has been a learning experience as she navigates different phases of her life, especially now in a tween environment.
Dance has given her the ability to speak and express herself without using words and help provide stress relief from everyday life. Giuliana says it has also taught her many life lessons like being prepared, persistent and working beyond exhaustion to see her dreams come to reality.
In the past few years, Giuliana has been a guest of Nyle DiMarco and Hayle Erbert on Dancing with The Stars, she was featured in Nickelodeon’s show “Lip Sync Battle Shorties,” and has been featured in many magazine articles . Her most recent accomplishment was being featured in a Shawn Mendez and DJ Khaled music video called “Youth.”
She says she takes something different home from each of these experiences that is helping mold her into a strong individual.
If she wasn’t busy enough, Giuliana and her cousin have started EvolveToday.org foundation. The program helps bridge the gap between the deaf and hard of hearing communities and the hearing communities. Another program goal is to assist deaf individuals with hearing aids and sign language classes that otherwise could not access these tools.
Giuliana said if she could answer one question for another child or help on person get tools they need that they otherwise wouldn’t have access too, that she has accomplished something.
She hopes following her dream of dancing can help eliminate common stigmas about deaf and hard of hearing children. Giuliana loves to connect with an audience and use dance as a platform to encourage other children that they too can follow their dreams even if they have to take a different path to accomplish it.