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A new article of mine is on Homeschool Mosaics. This month was hard for me to write. I wasn’t even sure if I should write it at all, but I already have a comment posted this morning that showed me that it was God telling me to share. I am glad I did. I know often you are busy and just read my FB post and like it, but seldom go and actually read my article. I understand that because you are just scrolling in between the tasks of your life. I sometimes do that, too, but I mostly read everything because I have more time, I guess. Please read and share this article if you will. I am sharing about grief and loss of loved ones. I know many have felt this pain and some I have read that have lost them in the last few weeks and days as I have. This one is in memory of my father, Dr. Joseph Aaron Kelley, Sr. I hope he would be proud. He always said that God often had us go through trying times, so that we could be used to help others in similar circumstances. Thank you, Daddy, for all your lessons. Thank you, Mama, Grace Kelley, for all of yours. I am a better person because you showed me Christ so often.
Well, my article for my monthly column on Homeschool Mosaics went live on Friday, but I had a product review due for Mosaics Reviews that day, too, that I had to pass along. So, I am sharing my article for Homeschool Mosaics today. This is part 2 of my three part series on Cochlear Implants. This month, I am answering the question that I am asked repeatedly, “Why do I get a CI?” I hope you will check out my answer. I am attempting to show how this decision is very personal and and individual. No one, not even a doctor, can really decide this issue for someone else. Understanding from the Deaf community, DeafBlind community, and yes, even the Hearing community is desperately needed to help these people and families facing this decision to be better informed and more comfortable living with their decision. Please read!
Check out Homeschool Mosaics today, and better yet, follow the site, so you always know when the great articles are posted including mine. Today, I tell you a little about how I am able to be Principal of an accredited private school that serves homeschoolers. You don’t want to miss it! My Life as a DeafBlind Teacher should give you some insight into what I do, how I do it, and most importantly who deserves the credit. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it because I got to show my appreciation to some truly special people. Check it out!
Make sure you come back here soon, too, because now that school has started back I have some posts coming on a couple of curriculums that I have been looking to use, and I have a few on some my musings about certain educational topics like labels. You might get a slightly different perspective on some things when I am finished, so come back soon to read these new posts.
This week is DeafBlind Awareness Week! Helen Keller’s birthday was June 27th. She and her predecessor, Laura Bridgman, made advancements for all DeafBlind people. Both worked hard to overcome their disabilities to become educated. They both wrote and spoke about the needs of the disabled.
Today, there are approximately 100,000 DeafBlind children and adults. We all work hard to overcome the obstacles in our life. We all want to be as independent as possible. We all want to contribute to society and make the world a better place. We are capable of learning and doing many things. We prove that every day.
Sometimes, though, we need help. Education, training, assessable technology, support service providers, etc. are all expensive. There is also a lot of medical research going on to help improve our lives and even one day to provide cures for the causes of DeafBlindness. There are a few organizations that help the DeafBlind. You support would be appreciated.
Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youth and Adults in Sands Point, NY is the largest by far. They provide intensive training in all areas of a DeafBlind adult’s life. You can learn more about them at http://www.hknc.org.
The American Association for The DeafBlind is another. It is an organization run by the DeafBlind to help educate the public, government, etc. about the needs of the DeafBlind. They also work to provide support to the DeafBlind. You can learn more about them at http://www.aadb.org.
Another organization that helps to provide training and accessible technology to DeafBlind children and adults is DeafBlind Hope. DeafBlind Hope is a small non-profit, but over 99% of the donations go straight to the DeafBlind clients of DeafBlind Hope. We assist parents in learning how to teach their DeafBlind children and raise funds to provide training for adults. We provide technology to children and adults that is suitable for the individual needs. We also work to teach the public that the DeafBlind can do if given the tools they need to become independent. DeafBlind Hope is another organization operated by the DeafBlind for the DeafBlind. The CEO is Renée K. Walker who is DeafBlind and writes this blog. Yes, I am talking about me. I sincerely work every day to make the lives of the DeafBlind easier and more productive. We all just want to become as independent as possible and do our part in making the world a better place. You can find out more about us at http://deafblindhope.org
Please learn more about deafblindness and how it affects these children and adults. Consider helping one of these organizations. You will be bringing Hope to the DeafBlind!
By Renée K. Walker
Summer has arrived and, along with it, my 25th wedding anniversary and my 50th birthday. I was married 25 years ago on June 22, 1986 just before my 25th birthday (which is on June 26). My husband and I have raised two wonderful boys who are now 30 and 23 years old. They are both out on their own fulfilling dreams and being responsible men of integrity. Each has a wonderful girlfriend who seems to enrich his life. I am very proud of them both. My husband and I have worked together to build a good home and lives that are used to serve our Lord Jesus. That is something I am proud of, too.
It hasn’t always been easy because life is never easy for anyone. Unexpected hurdles and just happenstance can unravel the best of plans made for a life. One must learn to flow with the changes. Among other of life’s normal struggles, we had a few unusual ones thrown in for me. Though profoundly deaf for most of my life, the process was still gradual, and I learned to do a lot with what sound I had. When it was gone, my lip reading skills still allowed me to go about my daily activities seemingly as if I could hear. I found it to be an annoyance at most, but I mostly just never thought about it. It just wasn’t a problem. I was also night blind from an early age, but I just kept bright lights on at night and drove carefully on familiar and short routes if I drove at all. I managed just fine doing what I have always done which is raising a family, teaching, and serving others.
A few years after our wedding, the vision issues decreased rapidly to the point that I could no longer ignore them. As I have said here before, the diagnosis was Retinitis Pigmentosa exhibited as Usher Syndrome Type III. When the vision dimmed, my life drastically changed. My articles here have depicted many of the struggles of being deaf and blind. We have coped as well as we could and, sometimes even risen above expectations. Learning braille, tactual ASL, and assistive technology use has made a chaotic life more ordered. Struggles still prevail, and the world is not always a bright, cheery, or safe place. With my husband by my side and a few very close friends, life is more than just bearable. It is wonderful, and I am living it to the fullest.
All people who are disabled, but especially people who are DeafBlind, need that one person -whether it is a spouse, family member, or good friend – who is there for them daily despite the struggles. Someone who can overlook your frequent moments of frustration over what you can’t do. Someone who can look deep within you, and see the truth. Someone who can dig deep within themselves and know that truth. Someone who will understand that the frustration, irritability, and sometimes even hostility, comes from knowing you can be a burden and you hate it. Someone who can show that it may be a burden at times, but it is always worth it. Someone who works tirelessly to help you access the world, but somehow makes it feel almost effortless. All people need that special someone. A person who is DeafBlind will only thrive if they find that person.
My husband, Scott, is my special someone. He does all of these things and more. I’m sure he often feels unappreciated as life becomes chaotic and stressful, but I do appreciate him. I also respect him because he has truly honored our wedding vows. It is one of the many reasons why I love him. Happy 25th Anniversary, Scott.
I pray that you, my readers, have found that special someone who supports you in your weaknesses and celebrates your strengths. I pray that my DeafBlind friends have, or will find, that special someone who helps them not only survive, but thrive. I also pray that those readers who may not be disabled (but know someone who is disabled) will consider what you may be for that person. Yes, it can be a burden, but the rewards of seeing that person thrive are worth it. God bless these special people.
If you have comments about this topic, you may write a letter in braille or print to Renée Walker, 143 Williamson Dr, Macon, GA 31210; or you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read and comment on my blog at http://www.deafblindhope.wordpress.com. You can also check me out at www.facebook.com/reneekwalker.