The Helen Keller National Center announces two new training videos for deaf-blind individuals and family members. These videos were developed and are presented by deaf-blind individuals and are fully accessible with captioning and transcripts.Read More
Children that are deafblind blind have dual sensory just like adults have. It's important that deafblind children grow up embracing their differences and knowing that they are capable and able.
Sight Hearing Encouragement Program now has a new sponsor who dedicates their time to writing books encouraging children to love their differences while embarking on a wonderful journey through literature.Read More
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.Read More
Oklahoma businessman, Michael Vontress started his own gardening company after working with the Sight Hearing Encouragement Program. Vontress has Usher’s Syndrome combined with retinitis pigmentosa which has effected his sight and his hearing.
After becoming a client with the Sight Hearing Encouragment Program he began working at others jobs with the help of the organization's job coach, Timothy Oakes. Vontress was able to acquire a state job through the organization and stayed at the job for some time. The company he worked for then let Vontress go and he had to consider going back to the typical 9-5 or venture outside the box and gain more independence. He utilized his learning from his job coach and resources from Department Rehabilitation Services (DRS), and realized that he could make a living doing what he is passionate about.
Vontress loves working outdoors and expressed that he has a green thumb and a fondness for nature. He decided to take a step out of the norm and ventured into the business world. He established his company, Lawn and Garden by Michael.
"There's nothing better than owning your own business." Vontress stated. "I can now do what I love and have the confidence in doing it."
Vontress specializes in planting various types of flowers and plant life, care-taking of foiliage and maintain lawn and landscapes of residential and commercial areas.
You can reach Vontress and his services at:
Lawn & Garden by MIchael
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.