Each person is different and unique and God has a beautiful plan specifically for each person. Jeri’s House is a place where people who are DeafBlind can come and live and learn how to be independent, learn Braille and signs, advocacy, hobbies, and be comfortable working through their adjustments of being DeafBlind. Jeri’s House promotes empowerment and encouragement for each individual to reach their highest potential.
Braille is a wonderful asset to enable individuals who are DeafBlind to communicate with themselves and others. Each person can decide for themselves if they want to learn the alphabet or to continue and learn all that Braille has to offer. Individuals will have the option of learning to use a Braille writer or slate and stylus, both great writing tools. Braille is a fantastic way to label your personal items and a wonderful way to enjoy reading the bible or other good books.
Sign Language is a beautiful language that enhances communication with others. Each person will choose whether they wish to learn manual alphabet, Signed English or American Sign Language or all. Protactile will also be introduced which is a form of communication that allows a person who is DeafBlind to interact more efficiently with others. This opens up a huge world of information for people who are DeafBlind.
Leisure group activities will be offered frequently to enhance communication, promote self-confidence and self-esteem. Various activities will be scheduled to allow DeafBlind to learn about their environment and to engage in their surrounding.
Individuals who are DeafBlind will be given the responsibility of helping with all household duties. Each person will learn all the aspects of living independently so they can eventually move forward to their own place of residence.
Support groups will be offered daily to allow individuals who are DeafBlind to feel free to talk openly about their adjustments to their dual sensory loss. Many emotions can often times accompany a person who is DeafBlind such as anger, depression, isolation, self pity, and much more. Being able to confide with others experiencing the same emotions can encourage others to work through those difficult times. Each person will learn to support one another which will in turn empower themselves.
Advocacy is a vital skill to possess. Individuals who are DeafBlind will learn how to express themselves to inform others of their specific needs. Individuals must understand their own disability as well as their abilities in order to advocate more efficiently.
Support Service Providers (SSP) are individuals who are certified to provide environmental and auditory information to individuals who are DeafBlind to enable full participation with their surrounding. SSP help to enhance the lives of individuals who are DeafBlind because of their dedication to engage the DeafBlind in their environment. Because of the compassion Support Service Providers have for those who are DeafBlind, they empower individuals who are DeafBlind to live a more independent and fulfilling life.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER/CEO
Jeri Sue Lynn-Cooper was born in Tulsa, OK to the parents of John and Norma Lynn. Doctors informed her parents she was mongoloid (which is what they referred to as mentally retarded), would never reach the mentality level of five years of age, and would be dead before her twenties. They also advised them to put her in Hissom, an institution for the mentally retarded in Sand Springs. Her parents said no and took her home. They believed in God and knew everything would be all right.
Jeri attended the Oklahoma School for the Blind in 1969 in Muskogee, OK. There, hearing aids were placed on her and it totally opened up a whole new world. As time went on, it was determined that Jeri wasn’t mentally retarded but rather legally blind and hard of hearing. She excelled at OSB and graduated in 1976.
Jeri spent many years being lost and unsure of what she wanted to do in life. it appeared that others didn’t really understand folks who are visually and hearing impaired. Most thought she was drunk and that was acceptable. When she would tell others she wasn’t drunk but rather legally blind and hearing impaired, others would leave. So, she felt isolated. Jeri then started a twenty year run of drinking and drugs thinking that would be a way she would be accepted by society. This created many wrong choices and abusive relationships. Finally, in 1994 she had knee surgery and told her sister she didn’t want to wake up. She was tired of being DeafBlind and making so many mistakes. Thankful, God wasn’t finished with her yet and didn’t call her home during that surgery.
Jeri calls herself the prodigal daughter meaning she finally came home, back to her roots of how she was raised. She enrolled at Northeastern State University and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development Psychology and later her masters in Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. She went on to be certified in DeafBlind Rehabilitation through Northern Illinois University.
Jeri was hired by Visual Services under the Department of Rehabilitation Services in 2009 and six months later, she was asked if she wanted to be the DeafBlind Specialist. She loves helping others and she truly understand what being DeafBlind is all about. Jeri is now totally blind and severely hard of hearing with two hearing aids. she oftens tells others that her Mom was her Ann Sullivan who most people know was the great teacher of Helen Keller. Jeri gives thanks to God and then a thumbs up to her Mom because without them, she wouldn’t have accomplished anything.
Today, Jeri wants to help others the same way she has been helped. Patience and encouragement and God’s Word is what has inspired her. She wants to promote that spirit of empowerment so others can transform their stumbling blocks into stepping stones.