Let’s talk Usher

Black and white picture of Jo Milne, smiling and looking at the camera.

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I’m Jo from Newcastle, I’m 40 years old and I was born profoundly deaf.  I had my ‘eyes’ and I used them for lipreading, scanning the world around me…  & being deaf was just who I was. We, as deaf people, treasure our eyes so it was absolutely heartbreaking to discover I had Usher Syndrome.  I became registered blind in my 20s and looking back over my childhood/growing up – it’s obvious I had Usher – I put ‘linking a friends arm’ down to the fact that I was lipreading and was a little clumsy!

It takes a huge amount of courage living life as a deafblind person and my motto is ‘one day at a time’ and never to put myself in situations that make me feel uncomfortable.  Instead I focus on all those things I do enjoy – chatting and laughing with those close to me and long walks in the countryside while my guide dog, Matt, runs free.

Recently I had bilateral cochlea implants (http://youtu.be/IyDdVJ81Ixs) which were life changing and the youtube video of the ‘switch on’ went viral – it was heartwarming how people across the globe admitted to taking their senses for granted.   Like the Watt family, it has always been a mission of mine to raise awareness and ‘talk’ about it.  20 years ago, Usher felt like a dirty word and how wrong I was. It’s because I have Usher and I’m deafblind that I have such a positive attitude … nothing is to stop the younger generation of having the careers of their dreams and reaching for the stars.  Life is truly how you make it.

A smile goes a long way and it touches my heart every time I see the beautiful and inspiring Molly Watt smile… and the rest of the world smile with her! 

The more awareness of Usher Syndrome we raise, together – along with our families & loved ones, we are one step closer to the mission of The Molly Watt Trust

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