I am the mother of a beautiful young adult, Beth, who was diagnosed Congenital Deafblind Rubella Syndrome. Throughout her life, Beth has been the recipient of direct and indirect services provided by CDBA-NB. A prime example of CDBA-NB providing direct support is the stimulating annual camp they host. The staff’s creative thinking and unconventional twists allow for full inclusion of all campers. Their ability to conceptualize problems differently allows them to be proactive and elude potential barriers. This perspective benefits all campers by allowing full participation, along with promoting a harmonious atmosphere, leading to a pleasurable camping experience.
Their hands of service also extend through those we call Intervenors, trained individuals who provide one-on-one service to those afflicted with deafblindness. CDBA-NB works closely with all their Intervenors, collaboratively developing individual programs for presentation to government representatives in support of adequate funding for the provision of their services. CDBA-NB also advocates tirelessly to provincial service clubs and associations for supplemental funding to ensure they meet the needs of all deafblind recipients. As a result of Intervention Beth has excelled academically, behaviorally and socially.
In our small coastal community, Beth and her Intervenor broke the barriers of prejudice and fear while earning themselves an abundance of respect. Together, they attended Sparks (a group for young girls of kindergarten age), Messengers (age 6-9) and explorers (age 10-12) for the full duration. During the last years in Explorers, there were three girls Beth’s age whom she interacted with on a more regular basis, and they would save her a seat each week. At this point, her Intervenor was able to distance herself, but remain close enough to intervene if necessary. She was able to do this because of the great job she did integrating Beth and educating the girls. Speaking of education, one evening the Explorers Group was doing a Word Search and they were trying to help Beth by pointing out the word “Braed”. Beth wouldn’t circle the word; ignoring their effort she continued doing her word search. Eventually, the girls realized Beth had already circled the real word “bread”, so they put their erasers to work and copied Beth’s sheet. How true that we all learn from each other. By the way, Beth happens to be a Word Search “Pro”. Beth graduated from Explorers in May of 1999. Throughout these years, Beth’s Intervenor taught the girls about Beth’s Hearing Aids and how to communicate using Sign Language; a language that she studied when she first started working with Beth. The young girls were taught the Motto, Group Verse, and various songs in sign language, but it didn’t stop there. Her intervenor was a Sunday School Teacher at a different church than Beth attends. She took it upon herself to set a few minutes aside each week to teach the young children various words and songs through signing. Each Spring, at the Sunday School Closing, the children would sing and sign the songs to the church congregation. The support of CDBA-NB has silently, yet successfully, filtered through our society.
Thanks to CDBA-NB and Beth’s Intervenor, Beth developed a great sense of independence, and the pride she felt when making decisions independently was evident by her demeanor. Her Intervenor would avoid providing choices that would consequently lead to disappointment. I believe her Intervenor saw Beth’s potential over her limitations and because of that, they have met with many successes.
With the support and blessing of CDBA-NB, Beth’s Intervenor devoted time and effort towards enhancing Beth’s quality of life. She took Beth to dance class twice a week faithfully for several years, and in the second year, they had perfect attendance. She had also acquired Beth’s tap and jazz shoes, dance suit, and pounded the pavement fundraising for the year-end Dance Extravaganza. At only an arms’ length away, she tapped every tap, kicked every kick and turned every turn with Beth. Her determination to have Beth give it her all became so obviously self-gratifying to Beth that it didn’t go unnoticed by others. As we sat among the crowd of 400 at the year-end performance, we swelled with pride at her achievement and cried with joy at her obvious sense of accomplishment, worth and belonging. The comments my husband and I received after the show were numerous and gratifying. Things such as “I had no idea she could do that”, and “I didn’t notice Beth and her Intervenor in that group until the song was half over,” and “Beth did great, she really appeared to be enjoying herself and she didn’t seem as nervous as some of the other girls.” To top it all off, after the show the girls in her group began hugging each other and telling each other what a great job they did. One of the girls came towards Beth, although she looked a little apprehensive, she gave Beth a great big hug. Then she asked her Intervenor how to sign “good dancing,” this broke the ice for the other girls and one by one they followed suit. This time it was Lisa’s (Intervenor) turn to have tears in her eye while saying. “This made it all worthwhile.”
In reflection of the above testimony of the true value of CDBA-NB for their support and services, I feel a strong sense of gratification towards their staff and the fulfillment of their mission, “The Canadian Deafblind Association-NB Inc. is committed to assisting all persons who are deafblind to achieve, with Intervention, the best quality of life.” They have allowed Beth to achieve, with Intervention, the best quality of life.” Thank you CDBA-NB.