My Deaf-Blind friend wrote an article for a 1996 conference on Deafblindness. This article, and about 40 others, I recently found again, thanks to a different Deaf-Blind friend who had the huge book of conference proceedings. The latter friend could not read print anymore, so he gave it to me. I did have the book, but probably tossed it out while moving many times!
Anyways, the article, while written in 1996, 23 years ago, has some excellent points and topics that should be brought to the forecourt of independent living for Deaf-Blind adults!
(I did track down the author, and she has allowed me to expand, update, her article. So, I am not doing this without her knowledge!)
Here we go:
The article outlines 6 factors for independence for Deaf-Blind individuals. I am going to focus on top picks for me:
- Available services
I will detail each in a new blog. Keeping this simple!
Motivation to be independent is not at all simple. Any psychology student would tell you there are two kinds of motivation: Internal & External. Internal motivation is personal motivation to do a task for own rewards. External motivation is doinng a task for outside reasons, which include money!
A classic example of both: I am writing these blogs as a way to express myself, share ideas and relay personal struggles with CAPOS. I am not getting paid (through I’d like to be) for any writings I do. If I were to get paid, let’s say, 10 cents a word, with a bonus of $25 per article between 450 & 500 words; you can depend on reading my amazing wit and true stories of disability crime on a near daily basis. That, by the way, is only approximately 75 bucks per article. However, my motivation would increase as the amount of money offered increases. I would also become greedy and not write at all because no one is paying me $75! So I would not be motivated to do any writing… I want you to understand; I am writing for the enjoyment of writing, and the opportunity to educate you. You are always welcome to send me … Oh, shut up! I almost ruined your reading pleasure! This example has run off the rails!
Anyways… Back to Deaf-Blind motivation and independence.
To the Deaf-Blind person, they need to be motivated to be independent, internally is best, externally is just as good!
Examples of both:
My good Deaf-Blind friend, a different person than the first two above, has become very dependent on a particular intervenor, who is not doing a very good job. A few times we talked about intervenor and the problems that were happening, I would always suggest to “fire” the intervenor and find a new one. My friend’s standard reply is: it is hard to find good intervenors, and then start talking about something different. My friend does not have internal motivation to “fire” the intervenor, not wanting to rock the boat.
I have another friend, I have several, has been an amazing advocate in the community for many years, locally, provincially, nationally, and even, briefly, internationally. This person has recently decided enough, and stepped out of the spotlight of advocacy to lead a normal life at a normal job, with normal deadlines and normal goals. This person became overwhelmed with everything and, probably, the lack of financial gain from all this advocacy work. From this discussion on internal & external motivations, I think we can safely assume that the person in this situation was externally motivated to step away from advocacy work because, well, there was no money in it. No stability.
These examples are both true, and could happen to anyone!
In terms of Independence for the Deaf-Blind person: Yes, Motivation is essential, whether internal rewards (a well written, liked, shared blog) that will outweigh sitting for and typing out thoughts for several hours while the dog is crewing up some Christmas decorations. Or external rewards of getting paid to do a blog while the dog is still chewing up Christmas decorations! At least I have a reason to ignore teh dog “I am working!”
See ya tomorrow!
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