A sign-language interpreter has helped a deaf man in India get back on his feet after a stroke.
Lance Bickham, 54, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009.
After being diagnosed with a rare form of the disease, Bickam had no idea how he could ever be a paraplegic.
He and his wife, Ann, started using sign language to communicate with each other, and he said the language was so effective that he could get back to work and live life to the fullest.
When he started working at a construction site, he was told by his managers to go home, but Bickams was determined to be a productive worker.
He was never let go.
Now, as a paraplexic, he can’t use his legs to work because he can only stand up with his head.
Bickys family has set up a fund for his rehabilitation.
(Lance A. Bickson/The Globe and Mail)”I had been thinking about it for years, but now I can actually speak with my head,” Bickman said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
Bickham is a parapleptic, meaning he can no longer use his hands and feet to walk.
The deaf man has limited use of his mouth and tongue, which is what he can hear and understand, as well as his hearing and touch, which are limited to his ears.
His speech is almost entirely dependent on a special hearing aid called a rostral implant.
When Bickmans mother died in 2013, his wife Ann set up the fund for him and started to help with his rehabilitation through a sign-Language and Español program called the International Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation Centre in Ahmedabad.
Now, Bicks mother is back at work and Bicks wife Ann is in school, helping to teach the young paraplegics to use sign language.
The deaf community in India has a long history of disability, including many people with severe disabilities who use sign languages or sign gestures.
In India, most sign language and sign language-based services are provided by state-run schools and colleges.
The disability community has often struggled to access services because many schools have not had the funds to fund the services.
Bikram, a paraplist in a public school in Ahmedpur, said the deaf community needs help with their rehabilitation.
“The deaf people need a lot of help, and they don’t have a lot in terms of funding, because they are so poor,” he said.
In the last five years, the number of deaf people with disabilities has increased by a third, according to the United Nations.
The International Federation of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has reported that in India, the disability rate is at 18 per cent.
Bikram said he was surprised by the success of the rehabilitation program.
“I have never seen anything like it in India,” he told the AP.
“It’s really great, and the deaf people are really happy about it.
They don’t want to go back to their old life.”