The Norman Transcript


June 27, 2014

Local resident will represents state during Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

NORMAN — Peter Broussard, of Norman, is living his dream of supporting his wife and family by working hard. Broussard is leading by example and hopes others with disabilities will live their dreams, too.

Recently, Broussard was named the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services spokesperson for the deaf-blind during Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, which was June 22-28. Helen Keller, who was an author, disability advocate and lecturer, is considered the best known American who was deaf-blind. She learned to read braille and raised print, and to communicate with speech and sign language for the deaf with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, who also had a visual disability.

Broussard discussed his experience as a spokesperson on Wednesday with the assistance of interpreter Joan Blake, OKDRS deaf-blind specialist and vocational rehabilitation counselor.

“My goal is to see many deaf-blind people and those with all kinds of disabilities to have jobs instead of... many of them are sitting at home, feeling depressed. I want to see all them to have more motivation and the ability to face challenges and overcome barriers,” Broussard said.

Broussard, 27, who grew-up in Louisiana, has Usher syndrome, a genetic condition that combines hearing loss with retinitis pigmentosa, resulting in progressive loss of side vision due to degeneration of the retina. Usher syndrome is the most common condition that affects hearing and vision loss.

“Well, really I’m just myself, ya know, kind of minding my own business, and I’m just like everybody else,” Broussard modestly said of his selection as OKDRS’ deaf-blind spokesperson. “I never dreamed this experience would be as wonderful as this because you don’t often see deaf-blind people out working; there aren’t that many of them, so I feel really blessed, and it feels really special to me. It means so much to me.”

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