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Craig Dirkes is a public relations writer and photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division. Click here to learn more or find them on Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyNorth. It’s starting. The…

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Reaching the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What would you do if you needed significant, life-changing help, but you were unable to communicate with those you depended upon for that help?

The Detroit Free Press reports there are about 655,500 deaf and hard-of-hearing people in Michigan, and it’s believed that the prevalence of alcohol abuse within the population is akin to that of the hearing community (They say about 1 in 5 people ages 12 yrs. and up have admitted to binge drinking once within a 30 day span).

Treatment for substance abuse, and even the getting to the point of being ready to seek treatment, is extremely difficult – and that’s an understatement. But those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing may face even more challenges on the road to recovery, especially in Michigan where funding falls short and there’s a lack of therapists and counselors trained in American Sign Language (ASL).

In Monroe, Michigan, The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center is filling this gap through its Deaf and Hard of Hearing Treatment Program. It’s the only day treatment program in the state that serves the needs of deaf or hard of hearing individuals with a substance abuse problem. It staffs certified and accredited interpreters and even offers a housing component for clients.

Richie Najor is one individual who receives assistance from the The Salvation Army’s Program. With one-on-one treatment from his fluent ASL therapist, Najor has been more successful in controlling his cravings and even holds down a good job.

Read more about his experience and The Salvation Army’s work in addressing the deaf community’s needs in the Detroit Free Press’ “Deaf have few options in drug, alcohol fight.”

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