Hello! My name is Peter Cliff.
I have been totally blind all my life. However, I have now in the last few years lost some of my hearing. I am now 68 years of age. It has taken me some time to adjust my body to the loss of hearing, in regards to balancing and identifying voices.
I use two hearing aids to increase my hearing. The hearing aids particularly assist me when I am in a noisy environment, if I am in a gathering of people I feel comfortable just having a conversation with one person.
Communicating with a deafblind person has its challenges, as there are two forms of disabilities which is tied in to multi-faceted disability as deafblindness. So it is most important that people understand that those who are deafblind should be treated as ones who are specifically deafblind. I use a support worker, or what we refer to in Australia as comm-guides. With the comm-guides I have been able to communicate better with the general public.
I am involved as a volunteer with a support group [Deafblind West Australian] in Western Australia. We are an advocacy group that supports the deafblind with issues such as assisting them to navigate technology, and working through dealing with government bodies.
Our support group is also involved with fund raising such as a yarn bombing project which originated with our group, and has now gone internationally. Yarn bombing is where people knit squares or other works of art and display them in different places. This project promotes deaf the deafblind in our community and gives a voice to what we do.I thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story.