American Association of the Deaf-Blind

A New Beginning


Why We Need SSP Services?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

by René Pellerin

I live in a rural part of Vermont where public transportation is extremely limited. I have used volunteer services offered by agencies that help people who are blind. But they have no knowledge or skills to work with people who are deaf-blind. My greatest need is service providers who can understand sign language and communicate with me.

I tried a transportation association that provides volunteer drivers. Again, the volunteers lacked the needed skills to work and communicate with individuals who are deaf-blind.

A blind person with normal hearing can follow auditory information and communicate with almost anyone. For me as a deaf-blind person, it is more difficult. No one in my community can communicate with me without an interpreter.

Since I am unable to find trained SSP services, I cannot function independently. It is not fair that I am forced to remain isolated at home. It is stressful depending on my wife because she works full time.

My social life is affected, too. The blind and transportation agencies have strict regulations about travel distance. I need services that allow me to participate in Deaf organizational events, which tends to be located beyond the distance the agencies will allow. This severely restrict me from actively participating in social organizations.

I need well-trained service providers to enhance my ability to function independently. They would help me with groceries shopping, running errands, attending local community events, participating in Deaf social functions and involvement in other types of recreation.

I have tried agencies that already exist for people who are hearing-blind, but they were not able to provide me with appropriate services. The only option is funding for programs with specific focus on providing support services to individuals who are deaf-blind. This is the only way deaf-blind people can experience increased independence, achieve self-confidence and find opportunities for social interaction.

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For more information, please visit our SSP page or contact the AADB Office.