NEWMARKET, ON, Nov. 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Just weeks after celebrating a milestone birthday, Fort Frances resident Dawnelee Wright started experiencing what she thought was a mild ear infection. After consulting her doctors and undergoing rounds of tests, she discovered that she had a "neuropathic deficit" resulting in hearing loss. What started out as a time to relax and spend quality time with her family, ended up being a Family Day weekend she will never forget.
Dawnelee's experience was further complicated by the fact that she lives with a visual impairment. Born with congenital glaucoma, resulting from Rubella Syndrome, she had no vision until she was a toddler. Thanks to a number of surgical interventions, she was able to gain partial sight. However, in recent years, her vision has decreased and is expected to decline further with time.
For this policy analyst, lobbyist, university graduate, wife and mother, learning about her hearing loss forced her to redefine how she thought of herself, "I do everything differently now. Since turning 40, and having experienced hearing loss, I have reinvented myself… being deafblind does not change who I am." This experience has taught her "to ask questions, accept assistance and keep moving forward." She explains that every individual who is deafblind has their own unique experience.
Dawnelee receives Intervenor services thanks to a partnership in her northern community with DeafBlind Ontario Services, the Canadian Hearing Society and CNIB. Intervenors are specially trained professionals who act as the "eyes" and "ears" of the individual who is deafblind through the sense of touch. The collaboration between the three organizations was created to connect Dawnelee with a professionally trained Intervenor. These services help her communicate and interact with the world around her, "having an Intervenor has allowed me access to people and places in my community. Also, I feel as though I am not a burden to my husband and children. We are all enjoying my new freedom."
She credits Intervenor services with giving her a sense of privacy and the ability to make her own choices about her activities without having to rely on others. For Dawnelee, she is more confident since she started working with her Intervenor because of her increased independence.
Receiving orientation and mobility training as a person who is deafblind has boosted her ability to travel independently and safely with her white and red cane. To make the most of her residual hearing, Dawnelee also uses hearing aids. Her hearing aids connect with an iPhone and, to offset the unexpected cost, were purchased with help from the Fort Frances Voyageur Lions Club.
She enjoys singing in her community choir, playing the piano, and cooking and baking with her son and daughter.
Dawnelee believes that almost anything can be accommodated with Intervenor services. She looks forward to publishing her memoir, riding in a helicopter, and taking a trip in a hot air balloon. Her new motto is "let's move forward!"
Founded in 1989, DeafBlind Ontario Services is a not-for-profit organization that helps individuals who are deafblind increase their independence and improve their quality of life through specialized services. With residential locations and community services programs across the province, their services extend into a wide range of communities in Ontario.
For more information about DeafBlind Ontario Services, please visit www.deafblindontario.com.
SOURCE DeafBlind Ontario Services
Image with caption: "DeafBlind Ontario Services (CNW Group/DeafBlind Ontario Services)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161128_C3261_PHOTO_EN_825770.jpg
Image with caption: "Intervenor services help make a difference for a person who is deafblind (CNW Group/DeafBlind Ontario Services)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161128_C3261_PHOTO_EN_825799.jpg
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