Deafness doesn't sideline cheerleader

By Ashley Franscell

Daily Herald

Published: Saturday, Sept. 10 2011 10:47 p.m. MDT

After two call backs, she made the team. Both Taryn and her mother were surprised — and overjoyed.

"I wasn't sure how this was going to go," Jennifer said. "I didn't tell the coach because I didn't want her to make it because she was impaired. But, I didn't want her to not make it because she was hearing impaired. I didn't want her to be out there if she didn't deserve it."

Taryn has tried different sports — basketball, tennis, golf, dance and track — but cheerleading is the hardest.

Her petite frame lends itself well as a flyer, or a stunt girl. Her Payson teammates have been very helpful and they came up with different signals — a tap on the ankle or a squeeze of the toe — to tell her which stunt she's supposed to do. They also wrote down all the cheers for her, so she could read them rather than relying on her hearing. And they've moved her into a spot on the line so she's behind the captain, making it easier to hear the calls.

Her sister Chelsey has also helped her with the cheers. But even more important to Taryn, she taught her how to tuck the transmitter into her ponytail before the games. She wants no special attention.

"Nothing holds her back," said Payson High School cheerleading coach Keelie Snow. "She's made her disability into something positive."

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