Hard of Hearing at Birth
Born premature at six months in Connecticut, Labiba Halim was misdiagnosed as profoundly deaf. A year later, she was correctly diagnosed as hard of hearing. Before joining the Deaf community in middle school, Labiba had mixed feelings about the Deaf community since she only attended mainstream schools where she was the only deaf person or had a deaf best friend. Though she knew basic ASL as a kid, Labiba grew up learning Signed Exact English (SEE). Exposed to American Sign Language in middle school, Labiba worked with interpreters and her deaf best friend on improving her ASL, but her advancement was limited. Due to the language differences and the success of her speech therapy, Labiba wasn’t accepted by her Deaf community in middle school and left during her high school years.
A College Student’s Job Hop
After high school, Labiba attended the University of Texas in Dallas online while working as an AVID tutor for high schoolers and then a retail merchandiser for Hallmark Cards. Exhausted by her line of work, Labiba became a fungi farmer at Anvil Farms after her friend mentioned they were hiring. Everything was strictly controlled from placing the fungi into substrate bags to putting them into the incubation and grow rooms with controlled humidity and temperature devices. However, “it was unpredictable every day because you never know what could happen with the mushrooms.” When COVID hit, the fungi farm suffered some setbacks and shut down due to a lack of sales.
Carrying the Web Designer’s Torch . . .
Jobless and finishing her bachelor’s degree, Labiba looked to her hearing fiancé, a website designer of 7 years that wanted to pass the torch. This includes her continuous skill progression in WordPress, Figma, SEO, User Experience (UX), Copywriting, and more through her website designsbybiba.com. The journey wasn’t easy, especially since a now-resolved health issue left her bedridden for six weeks. Despite her challenge of obtaining web design jobs and internships, Labiba is grateful for her fiancé and clients’ support. “I trust myself that I will have a successful career in web design, I just know it will take time to get there.”
. . . Into the Deaf and HoH Community
With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child Learning Development, a minor in Gender Studies, a year of web design under her belt, and an interest in coding (specifically HTML and CSS), Labiba offers her services to our community. In addition, as Labiba and her hearing fiancé bond over learning ASL, she hopes to gradually learn about Deaf culture and herself, build a bridge between the language and communication gaps, make friends, and help the community’s brands thrive.