My son is 16 years old and is deafblind. He's always been an absolute joy, and a happy kid. He as born prematurely at a little over a pound, and lost his hearing and most of his vision in his first year, and his early arrival caused some mild cerebral palsy as well. We’ve tried to give him access to different types of communication over the years. Over the years, we never doubted his intelligence and curiosity, but he was not able to fully express himself, and because of this, is was difficult to know how much he was learning.
He’s had some wonderful teachers at school, but was often grouped with younger kids because he lacked the ability to prove his knowledge.
With the help of his Mom and school intervenor, he started to type on an iPad. In the span of a couple of months, he went from a word or two to full paragraphs. He was soon writing long letters to family and friends, and typing for hours about his past, his hopes, his fears, and his dreams. He had been soaking up everything he saw through the sliver of vision available to him, and everything he had heard through his cochlear implants. Then he started beating us at trivia, showing us he had been overhearing and understanding the news, and pretty much everything else that was happening around him.
He recently told us he wanted to share his experiences, and so I made him a website. He has, thus far, ignored the invoice.
His message is that people who live with disabilities are different, but not lesser people. He likes who he is, he's happy with his place in the world, and he will fight for everyone to have their own place, and to be treated as equals, regardless of ability.