Nicole Ponte, Specialist, Intervention

 
How long have you worked in Deafblind Services?
Why did you get into the field?
What do you enjoy most about being an intervenor/working in the field?
What would you like people to know about Deafblindness?
Why is Deafblind awareness important to you?
 
"I have worked as an intervenor with Deafblind Services in Toronto and Barrie for 5 years.
 
Deafblindness can happen in different ways and that is why Deafblind awareness month is so important to me, it enforces learning and looking forward to positive change within the field. This field has always had a special place in my heart and soul. Many moons ago when I was 3 months old, my father Martin Ramsay, took prescribed antibiotic medication (penicillin) along with aspirin for an ear infection and developed a rare and fatal reaction, a disease called Steven Johnson Syndrome (SJS). SJS is the body’s reaction to medication or to an infection that can cause severe damage to your eyes, ears, skin, internal organs and blood. He was left totally blind and hard of hearing along with a variety of health conditions. It was a shock and a hard transition to bear but there was a blessing about to arise shortly after, in the form of meeting a woman from CNIB who provided him with her caring knowledge and expertise.
 
Because of my father's story, I felt connected to the field as soon as I learned Deafblind Services was offered in Ontario. In dad's time, they did not have "intervenors", but they had workers from CNIB that came to visit him at home, and this is the blessing that came to him. Her name was Florence Carter; she made his world brighter and stronger by providing him with the tools he needed to get back to what he enjoyed most about life. He was a painter and entrepreneur before his illness. Florence showed him how to get back into his artistic side by making wicker products. Soon after accepting this challenge and perfecting his work, he started his own business making wicker items like baskets, hampers and plant holders. Our house was always filled with wicker to be picked up by his clients. He started walking again on his own outside. He regained his energy. She made a huge impact and difference on how he viewed his new way of life. After noticing her impact on not only dad, but even on our family, I knew the importance for me of wanting to stay involved somehow was real, I am so happy I found my way here.
 
They best thing I can say about being an intervenor is that not only am I able to connect with clients that have had completely different stories yet similar outcomes and experiences as my dad and family did, but together I can share in on their new experiences in life, including the really fun adventures. What career would allow you to go to a wedding, attend a birthday party and go horseback riding all in one week!?"
 
Nicole's father Martin weaving baskets 
Picture: Nicole's father Martin weaving baskets