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The Essex Cares Blog

Blog: Deafblind Awareness Week 27th June – 3rd July

< Return to Blog list | Jun 27, 2016

When asked to write a piece about Deafblind Awareness Week I instantly thought of my very good friend and colleague Annette Bodsworth MBE who helps me deliver our popular and unique sensory awareness training for ECL. Annette who was born with Usher Syndrome delivers with humour, insight and charm; she says “Although I was born with Usher Syndrome I did not consider myself to be Deafblind until my late 30s; this is very different now as children are more likely to identify themselves sooner as Deafblind due to earlier diagnosis through genetic testing”.

With this in mind I contacted my mother who lost some sight when she had a stroke six years ago and is losing her hearing through the aging process. I informed her about Deafblind Awareness Week and she asked me to inform people of the frustrations she finds from the lack of understanding for her condition. For anyone going into the home of a Deafblind person it is important to remember

  • To ensure the person knows when they are talking to them, use their name and/or a gentle touch on their arm to get their attention and then use clear speech to ask them what their needs are.
  • The absolute importance of not moving any items in the persons home is paramount, from moving things in the bathroom when cleaning, to borrowing a pen and not putting it back in the place it was found can cause extreme frustration and anxiety.

More and more people are becoming Deafblind due to the growing ageing community and yet Deafblindness is a term and condition that is not often heard or understood. Isolation and depression are just two of the effects of becoming Deafblind and although it is useful to learn and find out communication and coping strategies please remember that if we all treat each other as unique individuals with histories and feelings, then understanding will surely follow. 

Our sensory awareness training at ECL is unique as it covers hearing loss, sight loss and Deafblindness in a one day session. With simulation exercises, lived experience and humorous anecdotal stories, this is a great way of discovering more about the people living with sensory impairment. Please do not hesitate to contact the Sensory Team at ECL to find out more. 

Terri
Sensory Training Facilitator

Click here for our Sensory Training Page

For details and bookings for Sensory Training Awareness please telephone 03330133262 or email sensoryservices@essexcares.org


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