Transcript - DeafBlind Living
Hello everyone! I would like to talk about my independent living. I want to first describe how I lived independently when I was a student at Perkins School for the Blind. Perkins School has a special program for independent living training. I went to that program and learned how to become independent. I lived with three roommates, and we all shared responsibilities. The training taught me how to clean and how to cook a variety of things. I was a good learner, and when I graduated from Perkins, I didn’t live independently yet, but last year I finally moved to a new apartment and now I live alone with no roommates. I decided to live alone for a few reasons. No male roommates, not that I really mind either way. I can spend time with friends or I can go places to socialize.
How do I live independently? Well, first, I have a computer and an iPad, and my phone for communication. For example if I want to go out food shopping, I rely on DeafBlind community access technology through the internet. They have agency support through MCB and MCDHH. They have funding in support of DeafBlind services, which require providers to meet with a DeafBlind person; they are already trained to help with independent living. For example, a person in training to become a provider goes with me to the food store to help me shop. They go with me to dentist appointments, and there’s also an interpreter there who will help with necessary communication with the doctor. The interpreter and the doctor keep confidential information private and they translate between speech and sign. That’s how an interpreter works. After, the provider drops me off at my home.
If there’s no provider for food shopping, I am stuck, so I have to go online for food shopping to places nearby that have online options. I have a special app I can open to search for specific things by looking at the pictures. I set it up so the food is delivered through a service that will bring the food to my home. The only negative part is I have to pay for the tip and the delivery service fee, which are kind of expensive. Or, for example, I forgot my milk last week. I had to set up an appointment ahead of time for food shopping, but when I brought it inside and put it all away, I realized I’d forgotten the milk! I think that was last Monday. I placed another order and I was finally able to have milk, that was great.
The iPad has helped me become more independent. Last Monday night I was chatting with my mom using FaceTime which means the video will connect through the internet and my mom will sign or fingerspell through the screen—it’s really cool, very good technology. I can communicate with my mom and Jaimi that way.
Sometimes I use the computer for emails and business communication related to scheduling with providers and making appointments, like dentist appointments. It’s easy for me to communicate important business things through email.
Another piece of technology I use in my independent living apartment is a bed vibrator. If there’s a fire or an alarm clock or my phone gets a text message, it will vibrate the bed so I wake up, and there’s also a light that flashes. If someone rings my doorbell—since if someone knocks I can’t hear—they use the doorbell and the lights flash and that’s
how I know someone is there. If a provider is going to show up at my apartment, they let me know fifteen minutes before and even contact me the day before to let me know all the plans and make sure I understand everything.
I also have amazing independent living technology. I use the microwave and I am learning how to cook. There is braille for turning heat on high or turning it low. The oven has braille for changing the temperature. I haven’t learned it yet, but I’m working on it! There’s braille on the dials with arrows.
My apartment was made accessible for the former tenants who lived there before me, who were old and sadly died. So I moved into the apartment and I can live there independently on my own. Okay, my time has run out, I’m finished