By Rebecca Jones, special at the News-Times
CARTERET COUNTY – To communicate effectively, we must realize that we are all different in how we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide for our communication with others.
Many deaf people believe that one of their greatest difficulties is that hearing culture sometimes treats them as if they are disabled, people to be pitied or in need of change.
Under the direction of the Department of Health and Social Services of the NC, the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) was created by the General Assembly of the NC in 1989. The DSDHH ensures that all deaf, hard of hearing or deaf / blind North Carolinians have the ability to communicate their needs and receive information easily and effectively in all aspects of their lives, especially their health and well-being.
Along with the Raleigh administrative office, the division has seven regional centers across the state to help serve communities with needed services, education outreach and other supports. One of these centers serves Carteret County. These services are open to people who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf / blind. These services are free.
Jennifer L. Cook, MS, CRC received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Gallaudet University and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from Winston-Salem State University.
Cook says: “As a deaf person my goal was to work in an area providing services to the hard of hearing including the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf / blind because I wanted to be a role model, as well as contribute back to the community. of which I am already a member. Each staff member brings unique skills to the team, including background, education, experience and training.
“We all have a common goal: 1) to communicate by promoting equal access and effective communication for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf / blind, 2) to collaborate by partnering with community organizations, service providers audiences, consumers and families and 3) connect by educating, supporting and providing resources to community organizations, government agencies, service providers, employers, consumers and families.
No one can define us except ourselves. This is to relay the importance of knowing that we must not be generalized since each of us has a background, a style of communication, family and community support, professional background, involvement in the community, use of technology to maintain independence and the way we choose to live life.
North Carolina has 1.2 million people with hearing loss and, depending on various trends and factors, that number will increase to 1.6 million by 2030. The impact of hearing loss is often underestimated. Inability to hear certain sounds, hearing loss can cause people to lose their balance and fall often, experience decreased social interactions, which can lead to a feeling of loneliness, as well as a decrease in the system immune.
For more information, visit the ncdhhs.gov/divisions/services-deaf-and-hard-hearing website.