Today the group of us headed out to Divya Jyothi, an institution of computer science for the blind, to do hearing screenings. The whole facility was impressive, and fully funded by public donations with generous volunteers that come to help during the week.
There was a total of twenty-seven students and eight staff members that we tested. At first a few of us were nervous about how we would communicate with the students, for majority of the group this was the first time interacting with the blind. Instead of relying on the simple language words we knew paired with our usual gestures to communicate we found ourselves more dependent on the staff to translate the screening instructions to the students. The language barrier was prominent today as we could not explain further than the basic words to let them know what we were doing and lacking the ability showing them the tools being used.
Due to them not being able to see what was going on around them some of the student appeared nervous when we stuck an otoscope in their ear; which caused us to change our approach and be more cautious when working with them. While screening we worked by tactile skills, guiding the students to the seat and using touch to let them know if we were on their left or right side; some even went as far as letting the students feel the tip of the otoscope to provide more comfort for the student.
Once the screenings started and we got used to working with the students the screenings went smoothly. I feel, as a collective, our screening clinics are getting better as we go along. We learn from our mistakes from previous clinics and fix it for the next one. Although, we were nervous in the beginning about working with an unfamiliar group of people we were able to adapt and had an efficient day.
Post-script by Lata Krishnan:
We spent the afternoon at the Mall of Mysore, where students shopped for outfits, jewelry and gifts…
And ended the day with a shopping trip to the supermarket near ODP to buy lunch supplies for tomorrow – using a very interesting shopping basket with wheels! Thanks to Lexi and Candace for coming along to help carry the supplies back!!