Image: Two images of Hannah. One she has a bandage on her head with the words I am Deaf i sign Auslan. the other she is smiling at the camera taking a selfie in the park.
Seven years ago, Hannah was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2. Hannah’s initial neurosurgery resulted in hearing loss, with further surgery resulting in complex vision loss. With both acquired hearing and vision loss, Hannah has a new type of world to navigate.
“When you acquire a disability, your identity changes. Not just the obvious physical transformation, but a mindset change too.
Diagnoses, prognoses, and treatment plans are laid out in black and white. The maze of accessibility envelops, bringing you dead-ends where there were once always thoroughfares.
It takes time, work and some courage to find an inner voice that will seize this new realm. To shift it from ‘I am disabled’ to ‘I have a disability’.
I have begun embracing my new identity. This ‘change-of-plans’ scenario in which I find myself. I am casting aside the expectations and limitations that society places on me. That I’ve placed on myself.
I wear my audio processors loudly.
I use my ID cane more freely. His name is Michael-the-cane and he is forever my plus one.
I will embrace this space and help others within get their voices across.
Let’s break down the maze of dead-ends and find the path through.” Hannah
Over the last twelve months Hannah has built her deafblind network and is embarking with a passion on a career as an Educator, Consultant and Advocate in deafblindness.
What Hannah’s been up to:
- Presented at a Deafblind Information Australia workshop on acquired deafblindness.
- Joined the SensesWA Diversity and Inclusion Plan Working Group
- Joined the Board of Deafblind West Australians
- Graduated from the Emerging Leaders in Governance Program
- Attended the Deafblind International World Conference in Ottawa
- Planning to present at the next International Deafblind Work Conference in Zurich, Switzerland 2027
Image: Hannah presentating for Deafblind West Australians.