American Association of the Deaf-Blind

A New Beginning


SSP Service -- One Person Thoughts

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BY Toni R. Fraser

In 2003, I found out that I had begun to develop hearing loss. I have a rare disease called Axenfeld-Rieger’s Syndrome. This usually effects a person's eyes, but I found out that there is a new type that also causes gradual onset of hearing loss. For now, my hearing impairment is mild. Since I am also blind, I am considered to be legally deafblind.

Shortly after I learned I had hearing loss, I found a program here in my area that provides SSP services. These services have become very important to me. Because I lack visual information and some auditory information, it is not safe for me to go into public places without a hearing person. At this point in time, I can hear speech, but I miss some words.

I live alone and want to maintain my independence as much as possible for as long as possible. I feel that SSP services enable me to do that. Through SSP services, I get assistance in reading mail, having someone sighted check my home out for any problems that need to be addressed, participate in recreational activities, going shopping, running errands, attend appointments, and even help with dying my hair! I am grateful for these services and know that I will depend on them even more if/when my hearing loss progresses. I'm lucky to have such services but my state needs more SSP's. It is a shame that more states don't have SSP services.

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