FOR people who are both deaf and blind, the world can be a daunting place. It’s dark and quiet, and not many people know how to communicate with someone whose senses are limited.
In the U.S., about 70,000 people people live in a dark, quiet world, according to Helenkeller.org. Cassandra Oakes, of Bethany, is one. In 2010, Oakes and her husband, Tim Oakes, started a program to help others who have lost their vision and hearing: Sight-Hearing Encouragement Program — or SHEP.
“I want to teach them to come out of their closets, come on out of their predicament, come out of being mad at the world, come out of that negative energy,” Oakes said.
Through the program, service support providers (SSPs) spend time with their blind/deaf companions, taking them shopping or to lunch or to run errands. They describe the sights and sounds their companions are missing.