2010 Shows

(Original Air Date: 05/31/10) Imagine if you could not see or hear anything at all. How would you communicate? If you were born without these sensory abilities, how would you learn basic life skills? Now imagine parenting three children who cannot see, hear or communicate with you. This is the uphill battle for Liz and George, parents of the world’s only known deafblind triplets. After their last appearance, it seemed that their family was on the road to recovery, and in many ways that was true, but their struggles are far from over. Liz and George share the progress their girls made when they began working with an intervenor, made possible by The Dr. Phil Foundation and Dr. Phil viewers’ generous donations. Sadly, it’s been two years since a professional has served as the girls’ eyes and ears, teaching them to communicate for the very first time and to become more self-sufficient. Liz and George are heartbroken to witness their girls’ decline. Find out what happened, see Dr. Phil’s surprise for this deserving family and learn how you can help!

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: annbat on Dec 16, 2010, 12:50PM
Sadly we behind in getting Dr Phil's shows so it was only today that I saw the one which features the deaf/blind triplets.

I cannot imagine myself in the same situation and would like to say how much I admire the parents for their input!

To Dr Phil I can only say that you are my no 1 hero n long may u run!

Replied By: mac3424 on Aug 20, 2010, 5:11PM - In reply to mac3424
There is a big difference between adventitious deafblindness and congenital, right? Educational needs are different if you become deafblind later in life.
Replied By: mac3424 on Aug 20, 2010, 5:06PM - In reply to kimputing
There is an Intervenor training program in Toronto and in Canada we have had a school for the deafblind here as well.
Replied By: kimputing on Aug 17, 2010, 12:43PM - In reply to kl62935
For what it's worth - different people react in different ways. I myself learned to keep my emotions to myself because of the moment-to-moment 24/7 stresses of deaf-blindness. To let go of my emotions like you wish this mom had done would cause me personally to 'melt-down' alogether. It's all or nothing, trying to keep up the strength to survive. I suspect this mom may be the same way, but only she knows the answer to that.

It's much like the death of a close family member - different folks react differently. I break down and cry two weeks later, keeping it together at funeral time in order to 'be there' for others.

Different strokes for different folks, but no less heartfelt, I can assure you.
Replied By: kimputing on Aug 17, 2010, 12:36PM - In reply to dessertgirl
Not even a pro can master sign language, much less tactile sign, in a year. I can assure you one intervenor was not able to work all three girls all day while their mother did 'nothing'. And lest we forget, these girls have a big sister who also needs attention. I'm amazed their mom was able to learn and retain enough information in that one year to keep the girls from reverting back to tantrums. Walk a mile in her shoes!
Replied By: kimputing on Aug 17, 2010, 12:32PM - In reply to dessertgirl
There are no institutions qualified to teach deaf-blind children. There is only one deaf-blind residential training center in the U.S. and it is for adults. This is part of the message of this story - training people ANYWHERE in the U.S. to work with the deaf-blind. This family has no where to 'put' their daughters. Too many people ASSUME the Helen Kellers of today are being taken care of and/or have the services they need. Helen Keller herself had to work (traveling motivational speaker) to earn pay for what she needed and to support her 'teacher' (intervenor) Anne Sullivan. Little has changed in the U.S. since then.

What we need are people who will step up to the plate and lobby for the needs of the deaf-blind. There are thousands of us, including me. We need people who will choose to train in this woefully understaffed field. Words are cheap, action is needed.

Can you imagine if Helen Keller had been 'institutionalized?'
Replied By: mac3424 on Aug 14, 2010, 10:52AM - In reply to harrisb72
Not so rare to be deafblind, but rare enough not to be well funded. To be an actual "Intervenor" the only program I know of is in Toronto. Many people work with the deafblind but are not actual Intervenors. I know in the U.S. they do have some training, but the actual "Intervenor" title has certification much like an Interpreter for the Deaf. It is, I believe, a 2 year program and includes a lot of hand over hand sign language training. This is similiar to ASL not Signed English, so some pre-training in ASL is helpful. If you need info. you could contact the Helen Keller Centre in Toronto or even the Perkins Institute in the States. Information should not be hard to find. Good luck. The Intervenors I know are very dedicated and highly trained individuals who are not paid what they deserve.
Replied By: mac3424 on Aug 14, 2010, 10:38AM
I am amazed with the ignorance of people! I can only hope that those who judge never find themselves in this type of situation. I have been there and I know what it is like to be burnt out.

I am a medical professional, consultant, and have my own deafblind child. I certainly never intended to be a "burden on society". These things happen and frankly it can happen to anyone of us.

One of the most difficult things to deal with, as a parent of a deafblind child, are other people's judgments. I even had a doctor ask me why I had my child. Considering my daughter's accomplishments this seems ridiculous to me now, but at the time it was very painful.

An Intervenor is a mediator, the eyes and ears of a deafblind person. Everyone deserves the opportunity to communicate and this should be funded by the government. This is where I would like my tax dollars to go.
Remember that some of the most influential people in this world had some kind of disability!
Replied By: mac3424 on Aug 14, 2010, 10:09AM - In reply to dessertgirl
No matter how these children came into the world;they are human beings. Any of us could be in this situation because, and you must be VERY young, life is a crap shoot.
Replied By: bluishpurple on Aug 14, 2010, 7:16AM
It is astounding to me how utterly heartless, ignorant, and judgmental some people can be.  I cannot even believe some of the things that are being said by some people on this message board.   Why is it that sometimes, people can be so ugly?  

To all of you negative, judgmental commentators:  You have absolutely no inkling of an idea what these precious people are going through.  Total lack of insight or understanding whatsoever.. not that I  claim I do, but just the slightest bit of empathy, or at least humility, is due here.

To the commentator who said that the parents should give their children to an institution:  "success" in our lives comes through loving support (commitment).  These children need their parents to be there for them WITHOUT HESITANCY.  Institutions do not love these children.  Their parents do.  Institutions have workers who are at times some of the most loving, caring, committed, amazing people in the world.. but sometimes there are workers who would do who knows what to these defenseless children while no one sees.  I have experience with institutions, and often there is abuse and abuse of power going on without censor.  IMHO, knowing you are loved is far more important than knowing how to read of write.  When you are loved, you can learn how to read or write when ready. 

To the commentator who compared these parents to Helen Keller... Helen Keller had Anne Sullivan who became like a sister to Helen... Anne gave her WHOLE SELF to Helen, not just one praiseworthy year.  People come, and then they go.  I have great respect for those who offer a year of their lives to help, however folks need not compare the situations without understanding them.  Things got ugly in Helen Keller's life too in the early years.  No one carries this burden like Liz does (not even George), because she cannot leave (clearly she doesn't consider that an option, and I have great respect for her for that.  Wouldn't it be nice if all of us had parents that were that dedicated to us.)  George is an absolutely wonderful man too... he is burdened, yet, like he said, he CAN walk out any day, yet he has chosen not to. 

To George if you are reading:  We need more people in this world like you and your wife.  You have a huge heart.  Express the tenderness more.  I did not like it when you said of Liz, "She's crying again."  She's supposed to cry.  I cried through the whole show.  If she needs to cry for an hour every single day for the rest of her life, just be the soft place for her to turn.  Make her know your love.

To Liz:  You're amazing... an example to all of us mothers.  Hang in there, you're doing absolutely outstanding... Don't give up.  You do not have to be a perfect mother and your kids do not have to have perfect lives.  In the end, they will know your love and commitment.  You're allowed to have your mistakes because we all do.  Don't worry, it is going to be alright in the end. 
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