December 3 is the United Nations’ International Day for People with Disability (IDPwD), a day to increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. To celebrate IDPwD, the ABC has a wonderful project to tell stories by and about people with disability across ABC Online, Radio, TV and iView.
One of the stories told was about DBV’s Joe Monteleone. Here is a short video produced for social media where Joe signs in Auslan and shows his art (transcript below):
Hi my name is Joe. I’m a husband and I’m a father of two. I’m currently a student as a visual artist. I’m doing a diploma and I’m a fourth-year student. I particularly love print making and lino cuts.
I’m deaf and I have Usher syndrome type 1. That means I see a really tiny space in front of me, like a tunnel, and all around that tunnel is black. So during the day, I have tunnel vision and I can only see pinpricks when I’m getting around, but at nighttime I don’t have any vision at all.
From my experience I’ve developed a dream that people in the community can become more aware about people who are deafblind. Please don’t see us as people who are limited and who face many barriers. You know, I’ve been successful enough to complete the kokoda trail and the trek. And many people over the years have always told me that I can’t. I can’t complete things. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. But you know what? I’m really determined to overcome all those barriers that I face, and I really don’t like people saying “no, that’s not possible”. Deafblind people can achieve whatever they want.