On unexpected skills.
“I learned sign language when I was 17 because I had to have a foreign language to graduate and I was pretty terrible at Spanish. I had a moment of weakness right before I got ‘Switched at Birth’: I gave up on acting and I moved back to San Antonio. I didn’t really have any friends, so I joined a deaf club and had to basically relearn sign language. I would go home and I would sign to myself so that I could get the sign language down before I looked like a fool in front of my new friends, and I realize now that I was making the sounds and learning the accent.”
“The funny thing about Ménière’s disease in particular is I’d say everyone’s symptoms are different and they’re different from day to day,” Katie says. “It can be incredibly frustrating. … They say that the depression rates of people who have full-blown Ménière’s are the same depression rates as people who have terminal cancer. It makes me sad when I hear that statistic, but for me it’s a different experience. For me, a positive attitude has been the biggest tool against Ménière’s disease.”
While the condition might seem like a curse—it once left Katie with a bad spell of vertigo for four hours—she doesn’t see it that way. “Without Ménière’s disease, I wouldn’t be able to play Daphne on Switched,” she says. “It’s a way for me to have a foot in both worlds. I feel comfortable portraying a girl with hearing loss because I have hearing loss; it’s a huge blessing for me.”