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Deaf-Blind People Traveling Independently?

A question to think about. Each person would like to maintain some independence. Are deaf-blind people able to travel independently? That depends on the severity of vision loss and hearing loss. Like blindness, deaf-blindness varies in degree. No matter what this loss is, it affects a deaf-blind person's ability to communicate. My answer to the question, "Can deaf-blind people travel independently", is based on my experience as a person who has very little vision in one eye and less than 20% hearing.

I walk in my community only with assistance from my guide dog. I do not cross busy streets alone. My walks are limited in area because I stay away from traffic. I do travel independently with my guide dog. It is limited travel but enjoyable and relatively safe.

I have traveled on an air plane alone, not safely nor of my choosing. Is that being independent? I'd say no. Though I did travel to British Columbia from Ottawa Ontario via air plane, without incident, it was with luck that nothing happened. Would I travel alone via air again? Well, not unless I had to. Lack of the ability to communicate adds a real significant risk to traveling.

Currently I can travel with an assistant if I pay the half fare for this person. I simply don't have sufficient surplus funds to pay the additional half fare. I consider that I can be more independent with the services of an intervenor. I am as safe as all other passengers with an intervenor present. When alone I can't make choices nor am I aware of all the choices I might have. Relying on another person to be "independent" is a phenomena that most people can't grasp.

I travel via train or bus with intervenors, persons who can perform special tactile sign language. I travel "the two for one fare"; which means I do not pay extra for having the necessary assistant. During train travel with an intervenor present I can: decide where to sit; know where I am along our route; choose from all food available for purchase and speak to fellow travelers. In this situation I am, "independent" relative to when I don't have the assistance of an intervenor.

When there are delays while we travel it is stressful. Everyone experiences that feeling of wonder, (what is going on), during delays. That feeling is how I feel almost all the time when I am not with an intervenor or someone who can use my special language, (British Two Hand Manual). That feeling is magnified for me during any period of unexpected change. I wish, often, that my guide dog could talk to me

By nature, I am an independent and adventurous person. Due to the disabilities I have, this natural tendency is curtailed. I do, however, think independently and whenever possible I act independently .

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