By Nicki Bumphrey, Deafblind Intervenor, Canadian Hearing Services Sudbury
On March 17, 2020, Canadian Hearing Services (CHS) closed its doors to in-person service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our staff transitioned to working from home and began providing service virtually. However, my job as a Deafblind Intervenor requires face-to-face interaction with clients to provide clear communication, both auditorily and visually.
One of my clients, Craig, who works in manufacturing, was affected by the pandemic in March when the company he works for shut down. Soon after, we at CHS received a call from his employer informing us that Craig’s position was deemed essential and he needed to return to work, but with new enhanced health and safety measures put in place.
With the assistance of Deafblind Services, Craig was able to return to work safely. Transportation to and from work was provided, since many bus routes had been suspended, and help to reduce the risk of infection by travelling on public transportation. Craig was also able to access and understand the new COVID-19 health and safety policies and procedures with support in his preferred language, American Sign Language (ASL).
“Without the support of Nicki and CHS, I would not have been able to return to work as quickly and safely as I did,” Craig says.
Deafblind Services at CHS provides supports to individuals with vision and hearing loss, helping them maintain their independence in all aspects of life, including medical appointments, employment, and personal business. Experienced CHS intervenors provide the visual and auditory information necessary to enable people with deafblindness to interact successfully with other people and their environment.