A Success Story
I would like to take a moment to share my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude for all of the wonderful people at Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and those affiliated with this agency. As a service provider myself in an already complicated system, I was completely overwhelmed when a Deaf youth was assigned to my caseload. I was surprised to find that my limited interactions with the Deaf community and rusty ASL skills made me the most qualified candidate to serve this youth and their family. I sadly found that this is often the norm in a region where widespread knowledge of Deaf culture is so very lacking. Throughout the last several months I have had an opportunity to see the shocking, and incredibly frustrating ways in which the Deaf community is completely underserved and misunderstood but also how vehemently some individuals are working to change that. I just didn’t know how to find them.
Thankfully, a coworker suggested reaching out to Deb Atwood at Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Grand Rapids in the hopes that she would be able to at least point me in the right direction of how I could help this family. But so much more was offered. Through this agency, I have found advocacy, support (both for the family I’m working with and for myself, because Heaven knows I’ve needed it!), guidance, resources, and a team of people who are willing to go above and beyond the expectations of their job descriptions to ensure the well being of this youth. From suggesting therapists and tutors, to attending meetings with schools and larger systems; From offering events where this child can learn to appreciate that there is a community of people like them while still celebrating their uniqueness, to providing an alarm clock that shakes this child’s bed so they make it to school in the morning; The ways that this agency has improved the life of this one special person in the few short months they have been involved are innumerable and invaluable. Thank you.
-A.D. Social Worker in Grand Rapids, MI