Skip to main content

Deaf-Blind Awareness Month


On Wednesday June 1, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on a Ministerial Statement about Deaf-Blind Awareness Month.   My comments are below: 


Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, June, this month, deaf-blind awareness month, is an important time for us to pay attention to those who are deaf‑blind; individuals with a substantial degree of both hearing and vision loss, the combination of which results in significant difficulties in accessing infor­ma­tion, in pursuing educational, vocational, recreational and social goals.

      It's estimated that there are about 460,000 deaf-blind individuals in Canada. This is a very substantial number. My father, in the last few years of his life, lost both his sight and his hearing, so I have some personal ex­per­ience of the impact of losing both sight and hearing.

      He was legally blind as a result of acute macular degeneration. His hearing was almost zero without a hearing aid. His hearing loss may have been in part a result of his experiencing a months-long bombard­ment at Anzio in Italy during the Second World War.

      The latter is a reminder of the side effects of war and of what is happening today in Ukraine. His last few years, when he was deaf-blind, were very frustrating ones for him, though he compensated and he persevered in spite of the challenges.

      Doing what we can to help those who are deaf-blind, or at risk of becoming deaf-blind, is vital. It is one reason why I've been calling on the government repeatedly to address the long wait-lists for cataract surgery, and why I've been reading so many petitions to ensure those who are older have access to cochlear implants and hearing aids when they need them.

      Those who are deaf but do not have access to coch­lear implants or hearing aids are at higher risk of becoming isolated and, later on, of having dementia.

      For those like Helen Keller who was born deaf-blind, support is critical to enable them to pursue their educational, vocational, recreational and social life goals. We must never stop doing all we can to provide the best support possible for those who are deaf-blind.


Popular posts from this blog

Dougald Lamont speaks at Meth Forum last night to present positive ideas to address the epidemic, while exposing the lack of action by the Pallister Conservatives

Last night at the Notre Dame Recreation Centre in St. Boniface, at an Election Forum on the Meth Crisis in Manitoba, Dougald Lamont spoke eloquently about the severity of the meth epidemic and described the Liberal plan to address it.  The Liberal Plan will make sure that there is a single province-wide phone number for people, or friends of people, who need help dealing with meth to call (as there is in Alberta) and that there will be rapid access to a seamless series of steps - stabilization, detoxification, treatment, extended supportive housing etc so that people with meth addiction can be helped well and effectively and so that they can rebuild their lives.  The Liberal meth plan will be helped by our approach to mental health (putting psychological therapies under medicare), and to poverty (providing better support).  It will also be helped by our vigorous efforts to help young people understand the problems with meth in our education system and to provide alternative positive

Manitoba Liberal accomplishments

  Examples of Manitoba Liberal accomplishments in the last three years Ensured that 2,000 Manitoba fishers were able to earn a living in 2020   (To see the full story click on this link ). Introduced a bill that includes retired teachers on the Pension Investment Board which governs their pension investments. Introduced amendments to ensure school aged children are included in childcare and early childhood education plans moving forward. Called for improvements in the management of the COVID pandemic: ·          We called for attention to personal care homes even before there was a single case in a personal care home. ·            We called for a rapid response team to address outbreaks in personal care homes months before the PCs acted.  ·          We called for a science-based approach to preparing schools to   improve ventilation and humidity long before the PCs acted. Helped hundreds of individuals with issues during the pandemic including those on social assistance

The Indigenous Science Conference in Winnipeg June 14-16

  June 14 to 16, I spent three days at the Turtle Island Indigenous Science Conference.  It was very worthwhile.   Speaker after speaker talked of the benefits of using both western or mainstream science and Indigenous science.  There is much we can learn from both approaches.   With me above is Myrle Ballard, one of the principal organizers of the conference.  Myrle Ballard, from Lake St. Martin in Manitoba, worked closely with Roger Dube a professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology, and many others to make this conference, the first of its kind, a success.  As Roger Dube, Mohawk and Abenaki, a physicist, commented "My feeling is that the fusion of traditional ecological knowledge and Western science methodology should rapidly lead the researchers to much more holistic solutions to problems."   Dr. Myrle Ballard was the first person from her community to get a PhD.  She is currently a professor at the University of Manitoba and the Director of Indigenous Science