Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Optometrist Scores Average on Eye Exam, Patient Enlightens Once Again

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 5:53 pm on Monday, January 18, 2016

Reading glasses set beside Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four AgreementsWith headaches so painful I felt like I would puke, an optometrist appointment was reluctantly made.

Reluctantly because my last appointment three years ago left me feeling devalued and depleted, and took all of my inner strength not to burst into tears.

This feeling had nothing to do with the condition of my eyes, but, rather, the ill-prepared, unenlightened way the optometrist communicated with me and my jerky, constantly moving, speech impaired body.

After that disastrous appointment, I wrote an letter to the optometrist and hand delivered it to the office. Even though I requested that the letter be placed in my file for next time, in preparation for this latest appointment I printed a copy to give to the next optometrist.

I was somewhat hesitant to hand the letter to the new-to-me optometrist because I didn’t want to assume he was as unenlightened as the previous doctor. I then realized the exam would have more of a chance of going smoothly if I gave him a fair chance to succeed. I handed him the letter.


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Blog: www.doitmyselfblog.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/glendawatsonhyatt
Twitter: @GlendaWH

October 19, 2012

Dear Optometrist:

After my eye exam on Monday, October 15th, I left the office feeling devalued and depleted. I am hoping by sharing the following information, the next exam will go smoother for both of us.

As you might know, I have athetoid cerebral palsy. For me, this means I lack muscle control and coordination. My physical movements are jerky and involuntary; one body part or another is in constant motion. My speech is also significantly impaired, yet can be understood by individuals who take the time to listen.

However, my hearing, understanding and cognition are not affected. There is no need to speak loudly, to repeat yourself or to use simple vocabulary for me to comprehend.

Next time I will grab my iPad from my scooter basket before my scooter is moved out of the way so that I have a more effective means of communication at hand.

My head control is tenuous at times. When conducting the eye pressure test and other such tests during which my head must remain still in a certain position, it might be helpful to have someone hold my head steady.

My eyes closing when something is approaching is a strong, uncontrollable reflex. Repeatedly stating that I need to open my eyes for the eye drops is not productive. Perhaps another method can be found to achieve the same result.

Please keep this letter in my file so that it will be handy for my next appointment.

Perhaps in that time you could consult with colleagues and other optometrists for further suggestions on how to best serve patients with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Working together will ensure successful care for my vision.

Respectfully,
Glenda Watson Hyatt


The optometrist read the letter, thanked me for the information and proceeded with examining my eyes. He was extremely patient when my head twitched like a bobblehead that had just  downed a few cups of espresso.

However, perhaps “…my hearing, understanding and cognition are not affected” was not written clearly enough in the letter as he made a great effort to gesture while he was talking. He went as far as to write “2012” on a small Post-It note when he asked if my last glasses were in 2012.

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, the third agreement is: "Don’t make assumptions."

Don’t assume that I do not hear or do not understand because my speech is unclear or because I may communicate in another manner.

Making that assumption really does say more about you than it says about me. And, honestly, it does not portray you in your best light.

Asking me, ”Can you hear and understand me okay? Is there anything else I need to do when communicating with you?” would portray you in a much more enlightened light.

On the bright side, this optometrist would make a fantastic partner while playing Charades.


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Letter to Santa 2015

Filed under: General — by Glenda at 11:54 pm on Thursday, December 24, 2015

Three candles burning in the windowDear Santa,

Gifts are wrapped. Christmas dinner for two, hopefully three, is planned. Stockings are hung. All that is left to do before I crawl into bed for a not-long-enough winter’s nap is to write to you.

Except for a few bumps along the road, I have had a relatively good year. I am feeling blessed and content. There is nothing specific I would like to ask for.

The one gift that I would like to ask for is that my family and friends, near and far, receive the one thing that they truly need at this point in their life’s journey.

Wishing you and the reindeer a safe trip. Merry Christmas!

With love from, 
Glenda

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Can an Online Community Sponsor a Keynote?: A Demonstration in the Power of Online Connections

Filed under: #Lifeasaspeaker — by Glenda at 2:53 pm on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Breaking the ICEwestOn the morning of October 3rd, I will be delivering my first keynote at Breaking the ICEWest: a small, consumer-centered conference aimed at helping people with speech and language disabilities who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems to develop their lives to the best of their abilities.

My keynote will also be beamed into the similar event in Toronto, Ontario. Two keynotes in one!

In my presentation “Putting the Social into Social Media: How to Make Connections Online and In-Person”, I will be sharing tips on staying safe while using social media, a particular concern for this audience. I will also be sharing how social media has opened the world to me: how it has enabled my voice to be heard, and how I have made friends and connections from around the globe. This is also of particular importance to this group, for whom everyday interactions with people are difficult, if not impossible, often resulting in low self-esteem and self-confidence, and even social isolation.

As a final demonstration of the power of connections made online, I’d like to gift each attendee with an autographed copy of my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself. However, rather than seeking a corporate sponsor or two, it’d be awesome if the books came from you: my online community, my friends and my loyal readers.

To make this easy, feel free to use the “Buy me a café mocha” link right below this post to contribute. (Any amount is appreciated; books are $15.)

Here is how I am seeing this working:

  • Up to 30 books contributed, I will give them as door prizes at the keynote in Vancouver.
  • 30 books means every registered attendee in Vancouver will receive a copy.
  • 31 to 69 books means every Vancouver attendee will receive one and door prizes will be given in Toronto.
  • 70 books means every registered attendee at both events (Vancouver and Toronto) will receive a copy.
  • Any money over and above the 70 books will go to the cost of shipping 40 books to Toronto.
  • Any money remaining after the shipping cost will be donated to my favourite charity Union Gospel Mission.

I'll Do It Myself by Glenda Watson Hyatt

At this point, all that I can give to those who contribute is a huge heartfelt thank you and I’ll add your name to the printed List of Contributors that I will tuck inside each book. If you would like a website or short message to appear beside your name, please note that in the comment section below.

Given that books for Toronto need to be shipped several days prior to the event, receiving contributions by Friday, September 25th, would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much! And, thank you for being part of my community.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Breaking the ICE: Seeking My First Sponsor for a Speaking Gig

Filed under: #Lifeasaspeaker — by Glenda at 12:14 pm on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Breaking the ICEwest

I am excited!

On Saturday, October 3rd, I will be delivering “Putting Social into Social Media: How to Make Connections Online and In Person” at Breaking the ICE West Conference in Burnaby, British Columbia.

ICEWest is a small, consumer-centered conference aimed at helping people with speech and language disabilities who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems to develop their lives to the best of their abilities.

The cool thing: my keynote will be beamed into the similar event in Toronto, Ontario. I will be presenting in two locations at once!

I’d like to gift each attendee (70-80 estimated in total) with a copy of my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself. To achieve this, a sponsor is needed. Or, a couple of sponsors.

This is where I turn to you –- my friends, supporters and community. I am looking for introductions to service clubs, companies or other such organizations that might be interested in sponsoring my keynote.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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No One Speaks for Me!: Accessibility Must Include Communication Access

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 5:07 pm on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Even doctors have dismissed my ability to communicate. One specialist went as far as to tell me that he would ask me questions, but he expected my husband Darrell to respond because “it would be faster.” I was shocked! No one speaks for me on something as important as my health simply because it is more convenient for them.

I shared this story during last week’s CBC Radio interview, in which Communication Disabilities Access Canada’s Executive Director Barbara Collier and I, in my role as CDAC’s Social Media Coordinator, briefly discussed communication access for individuals with speech and language disabilities.

Here’s the interview audio as a YouTube video – a clever way to have the audio transcribed, even if it it isn’t quite perfect.

For more CBC coverage: Speech and language disabilities ‘need more support’ in British Columbia

Many resources for individuals with speech and language disabilities and on how to best serve us are available from CDAC’s project Communication Access Now.

Donning my Social Media Coordinator hat for a moment, I invite you to Like CDAC on Facebook and to follow @CommAccessNow on Twitter. That is where I am spending a fair bit of time these days.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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