Nov 22

GivingTuesday | November 29

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My name is Elio Riggillo and welcome to the CHKC blog!

I wanted to share a bit more about me. I was born and raised in Toronto. I grew up attending deaf school and didn’t know I had Ushers Syndrome until I was 16. I use ASL to communicate but as my vision has deteriorated over the years. I now use tactile ASL to communicate. I’ve also started to use pro-tactile communication in addition to ASL in the last little while.

Pro-tactile allows me to get environmental information without having to interrupt the conversation. I can know when someone is laughing at my jokes, or if a student is falling asleep in class. I also use it to understand the layout of a website or a room that I’m looking at. I’m still just in the learning stages and wouldn’t consider myself a professional in pro-tactile communication. I’m hoping to be able to meet other people who use pro-tactile and learn new techniques from them. Meeting people who are deafblind outside of Ontario too will help me grow my skills because it is something that is widely used in other areas. I’m looking forward to learning more, and then being able to share what I’ve learned with both people who are deafblind and also with intervenors.

I have been married for over 20 years to my wife Tracey. I had planned to go to Galluedet University but instead decided I wanted to get married and have a family. I have three children – you may have noticed some of my grey hair? My children are not really children anymore, they are 25, 23 my baby is 19. I work four jobs: as a grocery clerk at two different stores, an instructor for the George Brown College intervenor program and as the Consumer Relations Coordinator the Canadian Helen Keller Centre.

I started using Intervenor Services when I was about 30. It helped me to feel independent and responsible. I have always looked up to people who show leadership skills in the community, and I decided that I wanted to help the deafblind community. I have been involved in helping to educate people who are deafblind and inform other people about Intervenor Services. I wanted to show my children that even with me being deafblind I could still be an advocate, learn new skills and help others.

Before using Intervenor Services, I depended mostly on my wife and friends. I started to realize that this wasn’t right. I use Intervenor Services now and I feel better that I am independent and can still do things on my own and also provide for my family.

Donate Now and help people like Elio live their best lives!