NEWMARKET, ON, Dec. 19, 2017 /CNW/ - The holidays are a time filled with joy, excitement, and a little bit of chaos. The warm laughter of family and friends, twinkling lights, and traditional carols are just a few of the many sights and sounds of the holiday season.
For those with a limited range of senses, like combined vision and hearing loss, the holiday season can be filled with silence and darkness.
Born in May of 1993, Michael was a very tiny baby who faced many medical challenges at the beginning of his life. Shortly after birth, he contracted three infections, including meningitis, which caused him to be both deaf and blind.
Deafblindness is a combined loss of hearing and vision to such an extent that neither the hearing nor vision can be used as a means of accessing information, communication, and mobility. In fact, 95 percent of what you learn comes from your eyes and ears.
As such, Michael was in and out of the hospital throughout his childhood, but was happy, in spite of it all. Like most kids, Michael especially enjoyed the holidays.
According to his Dad, Mike, "the holidays have always been a special time for my family. I would bring Michael and [his sister] Faith over to my sister's house, where there would be 30 of our extended family. I remember Michael laughing and smiling the entire time, even though none of us knew why! It didn't matter. Michael was enjoying himself!"
After more medical challenges in high school, graduation was in sight. During a time when many young adults excitedly look to their futures with anticipation, Mike knew that it was going to be different for his son. He was faced with difficult decisions about what kind of adult services would best fit Michael's present and future needs.
As hard as the decision was, Mike says that he was lucky to find DeafBlind Ontario Services and hasn't looked back ever since. Michael joined one of their residential programs in York Region, where he receives intervenor services that are customized to him. With the help of intervenors, specially trained professionals who act as the "eyes" and "ears" of the individual who is deafblind, Michael is able to choose his own activities, learn valuable life skills, and be an active participant in all areas of his life.
Now, Michael enjoys a busy social life! He enjoys fishing on Rice Lake and volunteering in his community. As 2017 comes to an end, 2018 has new and exciting opportunities ahead for Michael.
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.
This holiday season, you can help make a difference in the life of an individual who is deafblind, like Michael. Visit www.deafblindontario.com to learn more.
SOURCE DeafBlind Ontario Services
For further information: Director of Development and Communications, Susan Manahan at 1-855-340-3267 ext.228 or [email protected]