OKLAHOMA CITY – Author, lecturer and humanitarian Helen Keller remains one of the best known deaf-blind Americans, even though she died 48 years ago.
In celebration of Keller’s achievements, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services named Daniel Meek to represent Oklahomans during 2016 Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, June 26- July 2.
An investment advisor and accountant from Mustang, Meek has Usher’s Syndrome Type III. The condition combines hearing loss with retinitis pigmentosa, resulting in progressive loss of side vision due to retina deterioration. Type III is the only one of the syndromes to cause loss of vision before hearing.
The threat of special education classes caused Meek to consider dropping out of public high school. He utilized large-print textbooks and other adaptive teaching methods at DRS’ Oklahoma School for the Blind, but did not learn Braille or cane travel there because he hoped his vision loss would stabilize.
“I regret being such a stubborn little kid,” Meek said. “I should have taken advantage of the stuff they (Oklahoma School for the Blind) had to offer, but I heard of people with RP (retinitis pigmentosa) who didn’t lose their eyesight, and I said, ‘That will be me!’’”