DEAR ABBY: Last year, I began to lose my hearing due to a genetic disorder and now I have to wear hearing aids. I will be a freshman in high school next year. My teachers all have to wear microphones so I can hear them.
I'm scared other kids will make fun of me for being different. I have already gotten laughed at. What should I do? -- EMBARRASSED TEEN
DEAR EMBARRASSED TEEN: When people laugh at a person who has a disability, it is usually out of ignorance. Because this happened at school or another place where there is adult supervision, you and your parents should talk to the principal or person in authority so that person can speak privately with the guilty parties and explain why your hearing aids and the microphone are necessary. Your parents should also have a meeting with the principal of your high school before you go so the problem can be avoided.
When I was in grammar school, a classmate of mine had severe hearing loss. Because the students understood what her problem was, she was never ridiculed.
P.S. Making fun of a child who has a disability is a form of bullying, and should be treated as such.