The last week of June is Helen Keller Deafblind Awareness Week as declared by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
As I've said countless times, being Deafblind doesn't mean "totally deaf and totally blind", and people wonder how do we "live". So all week I will focus on a different topic and invite y'all into our world of being Deafblind. As you read these explanations just remember it's just part of our lives and we don't need sympathy or "amazement"
Day 1 - Getting Around
As I say, deafblindness varies in different degrees so the tools we use to get around vary as much as our vision and hearing loss. Some people don't need anything and can get around fine on their own, others prefer a white cane, a guide dog, or a sighted guide.
One technology tool one may use is a GPS App on our smartphone synced by Bluetooth to a BrailleNote to read directions in Braille. We can use this while walking or riding transit to determine where we are. A simpler method would be to have a business card holder holding cards with various destinations printed on them (as well as braille for the person to identify) to show the taxi or bus driver where you'd like to go.
Some deafblind individuals rather use SSPs (Support Service Providers) who basically are their eyes and ears. The SSP drives the individual around and guides them and relays all information to them - layout of the room, who's present, what's happening, and sometimes do basic interpreting (but are not permitted to do full interpreting). SSPs are available in only a few states, or even just a few cities. We need an expansion of this great program and somehow make it National.
If you ever get a chance to guide a deafblind person (or a person with blindness or low vision), here's a great video to teach you how to do this. Just keep in mind to ask if they need assistance first.
So if you have any questions about how deafblind people get around, just comment below and I'll be glad to answer.