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Monday, July 1, 2013

news from neodba

North East Ohio Deaf-Blind Association

News From NEODBA

Issue #5
July 1st, 2013

In This Issue:
1. Upcoming Event: Cedar Point
2. Upcoming Event: Summer Campout
3. OADB at the Ohio State Fair
4. Tid-bits
5. Article: Disabilities Shouldn't Cause Shame, Apology
6. Article: Disability is Sexy
7. Contact Us


Upcoming Event: Cedar Point

NEODBA is Going to Cedar Point!

Please join members and volunteers of the Northeast Ohio
DeafBlind Association for a fun-filled day at Cedar Point.

When: Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Time: 10:30 Am to 6:00 PM

(Note: You can stay later if you make your own arrangements for
transportation and volunteers. NEODBA will not take
responsibility for anyone who stays pas 6:00 PM.)

Where: Cedar Point
One Cedar Point Drive Sandusky, OH 44870

Ticket price: $37.00 per person

We will be buying tickets as part of a group. You must RSVP so we
can reserve a ticket for you. This price is $17.99 off the normal
ticket price.

Funding assistance is available on a first-come, first-served
basis. Don't wait until the last minute!

Contact: Angie Orlando


Upcoming Event: Summer Campout

We needed to cancel our June campout. The good news is that we
re-schedule for August. Don't miss out on all the great fun!

Saturday, August 17th
arrive between 10:00 AM to Noon

Sunday August 18th
depart at Noon

Judy Knisely's residence
Willard, Ohio

Any person with both hearing and vision loss

Cost: Absolutely FREE!
includes 3 meals

Overnight campout
Nature craft
Campfire and S'mores
Possible motorcycle rides

If you have your own tent or camper, please bring it. If not, we
will provide this for you.

Each camper must bring his/her own sleeping bag, pillow and
personal items.

There will be no water or electrical hook-up at the camp site. We
will be able to use the bathroom inside the house.

Please RSVP as soon as possible

To RSVP or for more information contact:
Angela Orlando


OADB at the Ohio State Fair

Ohio Association of the Deaf-Blind invites you to the Ohio State

When: Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

Where: Meet the group at the Big Red Cardinal Bird's statue
North Side of the Fairground

Admission: $10 per adult; $8 per senior

(Tickets for $6 can be purchased at Kroger, AAA and

Parking is $5

Ticket for rides is extra

We have 15 free tickets for the Ssp's. Please bring your own SSP
and we will do our best to find extras.

If interested in joining or have any questions, feel free to
Nicole by sending her an email at



___ Congratulations to NEODBA members Nicole Mitchhart and Judy
Groner. They were recently elected as president and
vice-president of the Ohio Association of the Deaf-Blind. We look
forward to working together as a team to enhance the quality of
life for all DeafBlind people in Ohio.

*** We'd also like to congratulate our friends and volunteers
who recently graduated from Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga
Community College, Kent State University, Lakeland Community
College and the University of Akron. We wish you a happy future
and hope all your dreams come true.

*** On June 5th, 2013, Angela Orlando, Judy Knisely and Kara
Bull attended a workshop presented by the Ohio Association of
Nonprofit Organizations. The topic was "Telling Your Story for
Higher Impact." We learned about setting goals, strategic
planning, finding resources and using the media for promoting an

*** Kudos to Nicole Mitchhart who once again participated in
the Cleveland Sight Center's White Cane Walk on June 15th. We are
proud of Nicole's dedication to spreading awareness about white
cane laws.

*** The American Association of the Deaf-Blind has a new
president and vice-president. Randy Pope and Rene Pellerin will
take office on July 1st, 2013. We offer them the best of luck.


Article: Disabilities Shouldn't Cause Shame, Apology

By Deborah Kendrick

Sunday February 3, 2013

The disability-rights movement has learned much from the black
civil-rights movement before it, but there's one important area
where we fail. We don't (yet) claim our differences with pride.
Instead, we apologize. We confess. We clarify with humility.

When I was a child, I received excessive amounts of what was then
extremely crude radiation. The purpose was to save first my eye
sight, and then my life.

It worked. I'm still here (and grateful) to talk about it. But
down the road, at about age 15 or so, school nurses began sending
home reports that I wasn't passing hearing tests with the
expected flying colors.

My parents scoffed at such reports, and so did I. What did it
matter that I wasn't hearing super-high frequencies? I could
still hear the sound of footsteps on the driveway or
conversations not meant for me long before anyone else in the

With hindsight and a broader understanding, I know today that
what appeared to be hearing was actually more-acute hearing, a
sense fine-tuned out of need. My ears played a more-vital role
for me because my eyes didn't work., though, I knew I was missing
significant sounds in my environment that others were hearing

In my 30's, following a battery of tests and a doctor's
explanation that all of that childhood radiation was playing
havoc with the blood vessels in my ears., I got my first set of
hearing aids. No one knew. The hearing aids were small. My long
hair covered them easily.

By my 40's, though, I began sometimes explaining why I needed to
sit in the front row, the back corner, the booth farthest from
the loudspeakers. I was comfortable, or so I thought, with my

Then, yesterday, on a conference call with some 15 people,
colleagues and friends, I suddenly realized I had talked over
someone. With a flush of embarrassment, I expounded briefly on my
hearing impairment. I apologized. I confessed.

Where is our disability pride? My rational mind tells me that
there is no shame in having less-than-perfect physical or
psychological equipment. There should, instead, be pride in
moving forward with whatever abilities we have been given.

But I flash back on a group discussing an upcoming cruise and the
woman who tentatively, apologetically, asked if her wheelchair
could be accommodated on one of the excursions.

I hear the echo of a friend apologize on the phone that he can
hear me with his hearing aid out.

I think of an email from a fellow writer who sheepishly reveals
that her depression prevented her from attending a meeting.

And I recall the empathy with a friend who nervously divulged to
a department-store clerk that she couldn't see well enough to
locate desired merchandize.

Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympian and Paralympian
runner who is a double amputee, has said that he does not
consider himself disabled. Clearly, with two below-the-knee
amputations, he is disabled, but why does he hesitate to own it?
And he is by no means alone. Many people with disabilities say
they do not consider themselves disabled; they feel flattered
when others are surprised that they have difficulty seeing,
hearing, walking, coping.

The reason is clear enough. To admit -- disability is to invite
stigma, risk being discounted, accept a one-down ranking in the
overall social fabric of getting a job, an education, a date.
Compare this mindset with racial differences and the missing
pride link is apparent.

Would we say to our Hispanic friend, "Oh, I always forget you
are from Puerto Rico?"

Would a black man apologize for his race or say "I don't
consider myself black?" Of course not.

Having a disability does not equate to second-class citizenship.
We need to find the pride piece of the puzzle, embrace who we
are, disabilities and all.. Sure, sometimes explanations are
necessary. "It is what it is," as the saying has it. but we can
do it without justification or disgrace.

If we who have disabilities claim disability pride, lose the
confession and shame, perhaps others will catch the spirit.

Deborah Kendrick is a Cincinnati writer and advocate for people
with disabilities.


Article: Disability is sexy

By Sally Hobart Alexander

Of all the minority groups, those of us with disabilities seem
somehow the least sexy. I use that term both in its usual sense;
arousing, provocative, sensuous, slinky, titillating, as well as
in the more casual use, meaning interesting or exciting, as in a
sexy issue.

How many of us feel complimented when someone says, "I forget you
have a disability?"

I remember someone stopping me on the street, soon after I became
blind, saying, "It's hard to believe you're blind; you dress so

Of course, that was back in the 70's, when grooming and
appearance weren't considered an important part of the curriculum
in schools for the blind across the country. People in
institutions often became "institutionalized" into thinking that
because their students couldn't see themselves, it didn't matter
what they looked like. But I digress.

Disability has always carried a stigma. People hide their hearing
losses, their diminished sight; they are signs of weakness.

The man who became president as well as disabled, F.D.R., never
allowed himself to be photographed in his wheelchair. The chair
was a symbol of powerlessness. He always had himself propped up
at a podium to speak.

Think of how many older people resist wearing the hearing aids
that would improve their communication and quality of life. The
stigma stands.

Of course, there have been groups of people with disabilities who
have asserted themselves and expressed pride. There has been the
Deaf Pride movement and there is the National Federation of the
Blind, for instance. At times, however, I feel that these folks
have done a bit of a disservice to the cause. I have heard NFBers
say, "I'm print-handicapped; sighted people are

To me that argument falls apart. Although I read Braille
completely and my sighted husband cannot read a letter of it, he
could learn, if willing. I can never read print again.

Some members of the Deaf Pride community rebuke the word
disability and feel that their world without hearing is a culture
-- which is kind of beautiful, I think. However, I've heard of
couples who are deaf who cannot conceive a child and want, then,
to find a sperm donor who is deaf and, therefore, bring a child
into the world with hearing impairment.

Having had both sight and hearing in the past, I could never
impose blindness or deafness on a child.
For me, not being able to see and not being able to hear well
have been deprivations -- note mere attributes.

My friend who was born blind says, "So, I'm blind; I also have
brown hair."

Well, she and I can change our hair color, and I, for one, do.
Neither of us can change our blindness, so the argument again
doesn't hold up.

And who cares? None of us, not my blind friend, not the NFBers,
not those in the Deaf Pride community, need to justify our

We all have developed subtle and pretty amazing skills as a
consequence of our disabilities. I wrote an article about such
skills, called, "Differently-Abled." They are strengths that we
have honed that are beautiful and largely unnoticed. And I'd
submit that we've developed and honed some fine inner qualities,
too, because of the challenges we face. So I think we often can
say that our disabilities have improved u. Anyone who knows me
must be sick of hearing at this point.

I recently read an article sent to me by my friend, Cynthia
Ingraham of the Helen Keller Center for Deaf-Blind Adults.
Written by Deborah Kendrick, who is, like me, Deaf-blind, the
article argues for pride. She says that too often we with
disabilities apologize for ourselves.

In the training program years ago when I became blind, I remember
how constantly I said, "I'm sorry." I hit someone with my cane or
ran into a breast. Then 'I overheard the same phrase echoing
throughout the halls of that agency., "I'm sorry; I'm sorry." We
were almost apologizing for existing.

Deborah Kendrick says that the other minority groups did not and
do not apologize for themselves. In their Civil Rights movements
they took pride, as in "black is beautiful."

People often use terms such as "sight" or "vision" to describe
me, and I urge them not to -- especially "vision." I hate
thinking I'm a person without metaphorical vision. And I've
worked hard to function deaf and blind. I don't shrink from those
terms because they've strengthen and deepened and improved me
So I'm a person with disabilities or just plain disabled, and
proud of it.

Sally Hobart Alexander | June 4, 2013


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