Michelle Smedes

Michelle SmedesHow long have you been a client of Deafblind Community Services?

“Since 2009.”

How has being Deafblind impacted your life? 

“I experienced difficulty in communicating with others and could not participate in church. I had difficulty getting around and I experienced great loneliness.

I had difficulty accessing hospital emergency visits. I had trouble getting to some of my doctors’ appointments and relied on family to get me there.  I needed them to guide me, however neither they nor I knew proper sighted guide technique. They bumped me into things frequently.  It was hazardous for me to travel with them. ”

How has intervention impacted your life? 

“Because the intervenor provides sighted guide and assistance with communication, I am now able to attend and fully participate in things like doctor’s appointments, church, meetings, getting together with friends (hearing sighted and other people who are Deafblind), and language instruction (I am learning a new foreign language), to name a few. I am now able to build strong friendships with others.  With the CNIB Deafblind Services Emergency Intervenor Services Program I can visit the ER with confidence that I will get the best care possible.”

What would you like to tell other people about Deafblindness or intervention?

“Deafblindness is a unique disability. It is very isolating.  With intervention I have experienced this loneliness alleviated by participating in a variety of monthly peer groups and by attending CNIB’s Lake Joseph Centre Camp’s Deafblind week where intervention is provided and my friends who are Deafblind all go. It is the highlight of my summer.

Intervention can open up the world to a person who is Deafblind.  It provides the link to the world for the person who is Deafblind.”

Why is Deafblind awareness important to you?

“It is important because people need to realise that although this disability is rare I actually know a lot of Deafblind people in Toronto and across Ontario.”


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