Hi there, I hope you are doing well these days!
I want to tell you about my experiences here in Vancouver with an intervenor.
If you are unaware; an intervenor is a professional who works with Deaf-Blind persons. Some intervenors are trained on the job, while others went to school to become an Intervenor. Plus, the intervenor who went to school, namely George Brown College in Toronto, has the ability to work with Deaf-Blind individuals from ages 1 to 99! Of course, don’t let that 99 fool you. Intervenors who are trained on the job, usually are able to work with that specific Deaf-Blind person or group. Intervenors who went to GBC have about 5 or six different communication methods successfully mastered; including ASL, Tactile ASL, Two-Hand manual, and some others.
Okay, class done…
Now, recently in January 2020 it was announced that Vancouver finally set up intervenor services in Vancouver! It was all exciting news and then COVID-19 came along and threw everything out the door!
Yet, some people did register for and start getting intervenor services! I was the first in line, and have had intervenor services since July 2nd! Yeah!
I’ve had her every Thursday for three hours. While I am not going to detail everything that we did, I want to highlight 15 minutes last week that essentially showed why an Intervenor is so vital for Deaf-Blind individuals who often miss information due to vision and hearing limitations.
I went to get my Disability parking pass from SPARC-BC, which is hard to find. We drove there, the intervenor has a Jeep, ooo what a fun car! While in the small entrance to SPARC-BC, she explained to me the signs on the wall, the Dropbox, and that someone had entered the room. Because of COVID-19, we could not go further inside. But my friend who works at SPARC-BC informed a co-worker that I was outside. The co-worker came to door to get my information, the intervenor was telling me what she said “Wait here, I’ll be right back.”
Now, that is not the most exciting thing that happened, oh wait here… in a small room, with another person filling out his form. But, you know what happened? He started to talk with me! And the intervenor was relaying this idle chitchat to me, and I was chatting back with him. We talked for about five minutes about ASL, how cool it was, the weather, etc.
Can you figure out why this was exciting? I’ll answer in a moment!
After this person left, the co-worker returned and informed me that I had the wrong date on my cheque, so I changed that. Again the intervenor relayed this information to me via ASL and helped me see where to change the date on my minuscule cheque. After I changed it, gave it back to co-worker, I received my parking pass. Now the intervenor explained what the papers said, indicating that I needed to sign it and such.
Then we went to my next destination.
So, if I did NOT have an intervenor, this is what my trip to SPARC-BC would look like:
I would get a few buses, then get off at a stop, walking towards the building, I would probably need to find the address displayed on the building. I rarely use Google Maps or any navigation app because I cannot always see the destination. So, because of that fact, I would most likely walk right by SPARC-BC offices, then backtrack, finally finding it.
When I go in, I would try to read the print and other information. I would text my friend to alert her co-worker, who would come to the door. I would give her the papers, and leave. Not being able to see her basic ASL telling me to wait. I would walk back to the bus, and probably, my friend would text me; “You need to go back to SPARC! My co-worker has info for you! Why did you leave?” So I would walk back, gesture to co-worker who would probably write down “change date on cheque, you put wrong date! Please initial.” That sort of thing.
And the guy filling in the his form would have left too.
Do you see?
With an intervenor, I was able to:
- Find the right place smoothly, without getting lost.
- Read and understood the information in the small entrance room.
- Understood to wait for service, then wait for pick-up
- Have an idle chat with a stranger.
- Changed my cheque smoothly and without issues.
- Understood the fine print of my parking pass.
With an intervenor, it took less than 15 minutes, without an intervenor would have taken, not counting bus time, but walking to and from the bus stop, three times, maybe 90 minutes.
And, I would not have had an exciting idle chitchat with a complete stranger! Almost everyone else, even Deaf persons, could have had such a conversation, but I can’t lipread, nor can hear enough, and due to my ataxia, my voice is smoother than peanut butter on toasted bark!
This boils down to the need, explicitly, for more intervenors in Vancouver! While there is only one hired by the agency, if she gets sick, who is to replace her? More funding needs to be found!
I hope you liked this article!
Have a greatest of days!
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