Sensory disabilities, such as blindness and deafness, can be frustrating and challenging to manage in a sight- and sound-focused world. This challenge becomes even greater if the person with the disability has a substance abuse problem. While addiction treatment can provide the tools and skills needed for an individual to recover from and manage substance use or abuse, many facilities are not equipped up to manage the needs of those who are vision or hearing impaired.
As a result, people who are blind or deaf and need substance abuse treatment may be turned away from some facilities or don't get the message and help they need. In many cases, they have even avoided trying to find treatment, due to the concern that they won't have the services or resources available at the facility.
We understand that it can be difficult to find facilities that are accessible to those who are blind or deaf that supply needs of those with sensory disabilities who need substance abuse treatment.
A recent study from Disability and Health Journal indicated that people with disabilities are more likely than the general population to have issues with substance abuse and addiction. Statistically, about 40 percent of the population that has some form of disability also struggle with drug or alcohol use.
This includes people who have sensory disabilities, such as being deaf or blind. Often, the frustrations of these conditions can leave a person feeling depressed, anxious, and isolated from the rest of the world. For many people with these emotional issues, drugs or alcohol can be a way to numb negative feelings or create a false feeling of euphoria. This self-medication, in turn, can lead to addiction.
While this is not a new idea, the understanding of substance abuse in the deaf and blind communities has lagged behind that of the general population. The result of this is that services for people with sensory disabilities and substance abuse problems are less than ideal.
Additionally, a common area of concern for deaf people who need substance abuse help is that the centers won’t have the upgrades or resources necessary to provide full accessibility to deaf people. Even with those who do provide some accommodation, full-time sign language interpreters are not usually available due to the facilities unwillingness to provide one.
This is the Sight Hearing Encouragement program comes in. We have been working towards providing assistance to those in the deaf and deaf blind community in accessing and providing the resources so the necessary information is facilitated. Service Support Providers have been trained in providing the information to the deafblind persons. Additionally, the organization has expanded it's network so that braille materials are provided to those who are visually impaired and more recently ASL videos for those that are hearing impaired.
The organization has acquired clients that have made use of this program and are open to accepting all that need help. Our mission for independence in the deafblind community include having the ability to access the resources as anyone else could.
Do you know anyone that is deaf, blind or deafblind and struggling with a substance abuse problem? We can help them by providing them with material and accessibility to a substance abuse group.
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