Martin

The Impact Interventors Have on Deaf, Low Vision and Deafblind People’s Lives

How often have we all heard and seen the time honored clichés – “taking everything for granted” …” doing daily routines automatically.” In the deaf low vision (DLV) and
Deafblind (DB) world, these clichés would be blessings but in reality, this is not possible in most cases.

Hearing people with normal sight have access to just about everything in daily life – public news, walking and talking, texting and messaging as well as using cellphones, driving, catching busses, trains and airplanes, communicating fluidly without hesitation. The mentioned are a very tiny part of the hearing person with good vision’s daily living connections.

This is practically impossible in the deaf low vision and Deafblind aspect. The average deaf low vision/Deafblind person either cannot or has very limited vision to be able to read a newspaper, electronic devices such as iPhones, closed captions let alone being hardly able to see a person’s face when trying to communicate with a non-deaf low vision/Deafblind person. Trying to use the paper and pen system to talk is impractical.

There are also the daily obstacles a DLV/DB person faces – getting organized each day, the start of the day to shop or go for medical appointments. How can they get such “taken for granted” tasks done when they don’t see well or even having no vision to begin with?

This IS where the intervenor comes into the picture (no pun intended). We all know there are hearing dogs for the deaf, there are seeing eye dogs for the blind…the blind can hear though when with such a dog in the public.
Intervenors go through a two-year training program that is offered by George Brown College…some of the intervenors after graduating, work with the Deafblind Services (DBS) that is a part of CNIB, Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

With the DLV and DB, they are in a much more difficult daily dilemma. They can’t hear and they can’t see…an intervenor (IV) is a person who is qualified to work with and help such a group of people with different needs. The IV is much more than what is perceived by society as a buddy system. The IV with eyes and hearing fills in a tremendously large gap missing from the DLV/DB’s daily life’s needs.

Try visualizing a situation where the DLV/DB person needing to do grocery shopping… there are many people with shopping carts rushing from section to section without hitting each other, finding the food items effortlessly; asking for information and the like but this isn’t the norm for the DLV and DB. The IV takes the client in the car, drives him/her to the store then helps either through signing and/or using tactile communication to get the shopping done smoothly. In addition, the IV ensures that the client does not bump into other people nor misses what he/she needs for food. The IV also assists the client with the communication when it comes to the cash payments such as the total cost and using cash or debit cards or credit card processing.

The IV provides transportation, communication via signing or tactile signing which is a form of compensation in the sighted and auditory world.

Another classic example of how essential an IV is assisting the client in medical situations. DLV and DB men and women do have the same medical issues as normal people have… they get sick too. This is where the IV steps in to bridge the communication gap between the medical professional and client. It is the communication that is the sticking point without an IV hence the IV with the skills to relay information, questions and instruction to the client smoothly.

Very often, clients may have problems deciphering mail, emails and other forms of printed materials – this is solved with the use of an IV who reads the printed information and “interprets” all this to the involved client. The IV maintains a high level of confidentiality with all clients.
DLV and DB people are human beings just like everyone is, the only exceptions are that they cannot see as well and either have very little hearing or no hearing at all. Their lives are made a lot more challenging automatically but the IV makes the transition from an obstacle laden world to a smoother and rewarding one.

DLV and DB people would tell you right away how integral an intervenor is in their lives today. It is so important, the meaning and purpose of intervention. The intervenors are the “light” of life for the DLV and DB today in an otherwise dark and silent world.

Sharing a personal journey with you, I had to undergo 8 weeks of radiation on a daily basis; no treatment was to be missed in order to make the whole program reach its goal. It meant the intervenors set out to meet the goal by committing themselves to picking me up from home, getting me to the hospital, registering at the desk then getting me to the designated radiation area after I changed into hospital garb, then getting me out of the radiation room and back to the changing room. This was repeated effortlessly thanks to their smooth help daily. Their dedication in seeing that I got through the routine with a minimum of stress and worry is really appreciated.

This example I hope gives you a glimpse and better understanding of the essentiality of intervenors.

Thank you goes to Terry, Elaine, Cathy and Rosita the intervenors that ensured I would get through.

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