Video Transcript: Discovering my DeafBlind identity

ABBY: Hi, my name is Abby. I am DeafBlind. What does DeafBlind mean? Well, it doesn't mean someone is fully deaf or fully blind. DeafBlindness is a spectrum, just like Deafness is as well. I was born at 6 months, and I had many medical complications that caused my hearing and vision loss. How much can I see? Well, my right eye is fully blind, and the left has limited/low vision. I went to a mainstream school, I spoke and had hearing aids. I had speech therapy classes for many years. In Elementary school, I spoke and had speech therapy, and hearing aids, and did this in my everyday life.

When I went to High School, I took off my hearing aids, and lipread everyday. Up until Grade 11 I wore my hearing aids. At that time I was just starting to learn ASL. The basics, ABCs. Then throughout the year I had no time to continue practising due to being really busy with school. Once I graduated high school, that’s when I started to learn ASL and immerse myself within the Deaf Community and culture. At that time I went to so many events, met so many people. But back then, I didn’t know who I was. I identified as HOH/partially blind. While constantly meeting people, it was odd to ask them every 5 minutes, "Hey, do you mind signing a bit smaller? I’m partially blind and all." It got annoying to constantly repeat that.

For 2 years I analyzed myself, trying to figure out who I was. It finally made me realize, I can’t just ‘take out’ my blindness, it’s who I am. I am DeafBlind. I am proud to be a part of two worlds. Deaf Culture and Community and DeafBlind Culture and Community. I am proud to be a part of both of them. I am proud to have a community who understands who I am. What’s the difference though? Deaf people are visual and feel things. DeafBlind people depend on touch and feeling. So yeah, that’s my experience growing up and who I am.

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