18 August 2013

Communication with Thane through Progressive Deafblindness

Communication can be turbulent at best as a deafblind individual without the language skill of tactile ASL or access to technology that most able-bodied people consider paramount these days, but the area impacting my life the most is that of communication with my service dog.

Though Thane has been working much better as his thyroid is getting the support it needs and Lyme is behind us, we were still struggling in some ways which at time felt overwhelming. I could not put my finger on the cause despite backtracking to a training mode again to attempt to alleviate things.

Someone told me recently that my speech was sounding hollow and lacking some pronunciation. I didn't think much of it since my deafness has progressed quite a bit in the last year.

It wasn't until today when I was working with Thane that I realized this change may be playing a role in the communication struggle I am having with Thane.

Since Thane is a guide dog and as a result out front further of my wheelchair, there really isn't an alternate way I can communicate with him even if I had a free hand to do so with.

I don't know how long it will take for him to be able to adjust to this change, or if he can with his remnant hearing impairment from Lyme.

At home, he does not seem to have as much of an issue, but then at home I use my hands a lot in my communication with him in conjunction with voice.

I am hoping that the more I voice with him that he will begin to be able to understand me better. I'm not sure what I can do to make this easier other than to be patient when my commands are not followed right the first time.

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