Last Friday night, I spent four hours in the company of certain individuals who take communication and service to others to a different level. I believe we are very privileged in this team building and corporate event industry. Every week, we jet off to some wonderful locations.
We get to observe many enigmatic trainers or consultants at the very top of their game. Over delicious dinners we often rub shoulders with motivational speakers that talk about personal authenticity or a greater social awareness that will make us all more fulfilled.
This all seems to pale into insignificance when your are surrounded by the volunteers, carers and the cared for from the charitable organisation Sense. Sense is the leading national charity that supports, and campaigns for, children and adults who are deafblind. About six years ago, we were asked to deliver a drumming event to celebrate Sense’s 50th anniversary.
It was an amazing evening to be a part of, with about two hundred participants all playing together. Now, we had been asked to return to do something similar at Sense’s Annual Conference.
Can you even for a moment imagine being severely blind or deaf, and in some cases having learning difficulties too? Some people have all of these challenges. These are the people Sense looks after and support.
As I sat there at the Annual Conference dinner, I counted at least eight different methods of one-to-one communication. Patrick – the gentleman sitting right next to me – was blind and deaf. Patrick’s devoted carer Marion successfully communicated everything to him that was going on all around him, including verbal conversation, by typing a form of short hand on his palm with her finger. All around me there were so many different forms of lip reading, sign language and touch codes. It was truly humbling.
Then came the drumming event. What you have to remember is that a drumming event is facilitated by vocal commands and various hand signals. So you might think that there would be a big issue if a large percentage of your audience cannot hear or see. However, somehow through the skill of the translators, guides and assistants working in the room, it just wasn’t. We had around seventy people playing a consistent beat, which created a large vibration through the floor. So, while the drumming rhythms could not be heard or seen by some people, they were most certainly felt!
It was very poignant to watch all the people in the room gel together, knowing that people were interpreting the music in very different ways. This really was communication on many levels. What a fantastic night! It was a wonderful honour, and a good reality check, to help such an amazing charity.
For more information about Sense, please visit the Sense website.
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