The future looked bleak, but as the years went by, Elizabeth resolved not to let her condition hold her back.
When Elizabeth learned at age 15 that she had Usher Syndrome, she could hardly accept it. She
had been born Deaf, and now she learned that her eyesight would slowly deteriorate as she grew
older, taking away her independence and leaving her isolated from the world around her. The future
looked bleak, but as the years went by, Elizabeth resolved not to let her condition hold her back.
She has worked, gone to school, even attended the Helen Keller National Institute, where she
learned Braille and how to use new devices to communicate. Elizabeth is now 48, and though
her vision is significantly impaired, she is leading a meaningful and productive life. This is made possible
through the vital support services provided by Community Outreach Program for the Deaf, New Mexico Office. The most important of these services is the help of a Support Service Provider, a companion trained in tactile sign language who goes with Elizabeth just about everywhere and helps her interact with other people and with the context or environment she’s in. COPD also provides Elizabeth with a case manager, interpreting and vocational services, and social activities with the DeafBlind community. Elizabeth is highly active in this community, serving as the president of the DeafBlind Association and working with other
similar organizations. COPD’s services have had a huge impact on Elizabeth’s quality of life, helping
her stay connected with the world. “Because of COPD, I’m happier, I have a degree of independence,
I have activities and the support I need. They have definitely improved my life!”