Deaf-Blind Awareness week ended on July 2nd. This was our state’s chance to spread the word about just what Deaf-Blindness is, and how people live with this condition from day to day. To help them do that, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (ODRS) selected Daniel Meek as the state’s representative.
What Does It Take to Adjust to A Disability?
Meek is a man from Mustang who works at a financial investment business. He recruits new clients. He is taking classes from Colorado State University to become a CPA. He’s married and has two daughters. He is also hard of hearing and has poor eyesight.
Not long ago, Daniel was diagnosed with Usher syndrome type 3. That means that his eyesight and hearing will deteriorate until he can no longer see or hear. It was quite a devastating blow, but something he’s dealt with all his life.
Over the years, Meek found it hard to deal with the progressively worsening condition of his eyesight and hearing. He transferred to the Oklahoma School for the Blind when he was in high school, eventually got hearing aids, and start using a cane. As his condition worsened, he resisted every new step; he even refused to learn braille. But things changed with his Usher’s diagnosis.
At that moment, he realized that he was going to lose his sight and hearing completely, and so he decided to meet this challenge head on. He contacted the Helen Keller National Center, which put him in contact with ODRS. The department has since helped him learn braille, sign language, and other skills he will need when his hearing and sight finally give out.
Daniel Meek is learning how to maintain an independent lifestyle, but he couldn’t do it without the help of ODRS. However, Oklahoma’s disability services are all under threat. Our state narrowly escaped a financial crisis that would have wiped out Oklahoma’s Medicaid pay outs. This crisis was only averted by lawmakers making deep budget cuts, and the state’s disability services were a part of that chopping block.
Will Oklahomans like Daniel be able to get the services they need to live an independent life? Are there other solutions to Oklahoma’s disability services problem? Keep following your Tulsa disability attorneys on our blog, and learn more about what you can do on our Facebook and Twitter pages.