Life with an Intervenor

Hi folks,

As you know, I’ve moved from a city with intervenors to a city without.  We moved to be closer to my family.  And a new challenge in life.  It is a big challenge!

Remember an Intervenor is a professional who helps a person who is Deaf-Blind experience visual and auditory information.  The intervenor is my eyes and ears.

There are many pros and cons to having and not having an intervenor. So for the next couple of posts I will list these for your reading pleasure.

But, before we begin, I want to draw attention to what I prefer to use intervenors for:  Being the only Deaf-Blind person in my family,  I love having an intervenor, lets call him Leo, at family gatherings, dinners, parties, and other events.  The intervenor would relay what people are talking about, what they are doing, who is coming and who is going.  This enables me to be fully aware of most conversations, specifically, and most activities.  I said “most” and not “all” because it is common sense: can you go to a large party and hear all conversations, even on the other side of the room? Not likely.  In the same way, Leo cannot possibly inform me what everyone is saying, but focus on those around me.  I will use this example, plus its twin, a party without Leo, in the four blogs.

Pros of having an Intervenor:

  • Leo would inform me of conversations and activities at a party.
  • Leo would read to me the menu options at a restaurant or fast food restaurant, allowing me to know the options.
  • Leo would caution me of a hazard that I would probably walk into.
  • Leo would help communicate with police, ER staff or doctors.
  • I would have 10 to 12 hours of intervenor services a week.
  • I could use Leo to go to different places and experience the environment firsthand.  For example: I went with intervenor to a museum in Toronto once, I was able to go different areas and learn about the objects and art on display.  Leo would inform me what the plaques say, and I would be able to discuss topics with the museum docent (guide).
  • Leo would inform me of prices for everything from a can of tuna to a second hand couch at Value Village.  And he would explain ingredients or health information on food packages.
  • Get to use intervenors with amazing skills, knowledge and experience.  These people know their job or roles, and their non roles.  This might seem confusing, but it is simple: Leo knows he is to inform me WHERE & WHAT my children are playing in a playground.  Leo is not responsible for their well-being.  If one kid is climbing dangerously, Leo would inform me, and I would, or would not, take action.
  • Help intervenors become better, I am the eternal teacher.
  • I would be able to be fully aware of everything that is happening around me.
  • Leo would not pass judgement of me:  “You really should not be eating that many donuts…” or “That is a very HOT pepper!”, and when I ate it and turned bright red he would not say “I told you so!”.

Cons of having intervenor:

  • If I have nothing planned, or I’m home with sick kids, Leo would be doing nothing and I would feel guilty for wasting his time.
  • At social gatherings with other Deaf-Blind people who also sign, Leo would be doing nothing, because I don’t need him to facilitate communication with my friends who can sign.  With friends with no signing skills, that is where Leo would be a big help.
  • I would have to inform Leo that he is at the event to assist me, he must ignore his own friends or affiliations.  I have “fired” a few intervenors who spend too much time chatting with people at events, or on their cell phones, and only giving me short blurbs of what is happening.
  • Some intervenors use a summary of important details to tell me which is to only inform me of main points and not very clearly.  Sometime information is lost because
  • I have to put up with intervenors who lack skills and/or experience, and take things into their own hands.  Or do things for me, instead of with me.
  • Having an impromptu visitor, and no intervenor.  This can be a big step backwards, many times I have had people stop by, but Leo is working with someone else, and I’m stuck without.  It would be backwards because I would either use pen and paper, thereby slowing things down, or my wife, who is also talking for herself.

Next blog: Life without Intervenors


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