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Why I became a Certified Accessible Travel Advocate.

My Dad

My dad is deaf. He gradually lost his hearing as I got older. Our family adjusted by following his lead. At first, we talked slower, and enunciated better. When his hearing was completely gone, we used our phones text to talk features and other amazing technology as we learned more. My dad did eventually get cochlear implants in both ears; after going so long without hearing though, he often choses not to wear them. We had to educate ourselves on the many ways to communicate to make sure my dad never felt left out of our busy, often chaotic, family life. Even though my dad will "turn off" the family by removing his "ears"(his processor,) he is an avid lip reader and my siblings and I never get away with anything! 

 

 When he would travel alone for work or fun my step mom would book his travel needs. We found when he was at his destination, if he needed to make an adjustment, had a question, or wanted information, he often had difficulty communicating with staff. He would also need to ensure he had safe accommodations. Something as simple as housekeeping just knocking on the door or worrying about notifying him in case of an emergency were often overlooked. My stepmom would have to make sure he had a hearing accessible room; however when he would check in, he didn't always get a hearing accessible room. 

My stepdad

My step dad was injured in a hunting accident and lost both legs below the knee and has partial paralysis in his right hand. He requires a power chair for mobility. He is still an avid hunter and often participates with handicap hunts that require travel. My step dad has not let his disability limit his mobility! He continues to do the things he enjoys- working in the yard, hunting, playing with his grandkids, and so much more! 

His very first hunting trip after the accident required a long flight. He and my mom, his travel companion, had a horrible experience with the airline and since have refused to travel by air. This has limited their travel options to locations they can drive to. They often talk about places they would like to go to but thought they never could. 

Me

I love to travel and want the opportunity to travel with my parents and the opportunity for them to travel on their own. They deserve to enjoy a relaxing vacation. Once I became a travel agent, I knew I wanted to be a reliable source for my parents and others that deserve accessible travel. I have and will continue to educate myself on accessible travel so that everyone can enjoy their time away from home. 

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