• “Not one of the hearing and not one of the deaf”

    by Pamela Deutsch

    Ido was born in 1968 inTel-Aviv-Jaffa and grew up in Bat Yam.  It was only at the age of two and a half, that it was discovered that he was hard of hearing.  As he was a premature baby, the doctors and nurses kept telling his parents, who already had twin girls, that he wasn’t talking because his development was delayed.   Ido was close to three when he received his first hearing aids.  He was sent to a nursery program run by Micha where the first goal was to teach him how to read.  By the age of three and a half he was reading fluently and soon after learned to speak.  Ido was mainstreamed into theBat Yam school system from the beginning.  However, hearing aids then were not what they are today.  The hearing aids themselves, which were large and drew attention were connected to a box that rested on his chest in a special undershirt.  He was the only hard of hearing child in his elementary and high school and he was not acquainted with others who were hard of hearing.

    As a teenager, Shema invited him to activities, however most of the kids were deaf and spoke sign language which Ido did not.  His high school years were particularly isolating, as he was not one of the hearing and not one of the deaf.  Having attained a full matriculation certificate, Ido volunteered for the army, because as someone with a disability he was not drafted, and served in the intelligence corp.  The army opened up new worlds for Ido and was a wonderful place to meet new people.  Having grown up in a very homogenous atmosphere, this was Ido’s first opportunity to meet a greater variety of people; people from different places, backgrounds, levels of religious observance, etc.

    After he finished his service, Ido began to explore what to study.  Ido’s father, after having met Prof Jerry Reichstein, who was then the head of the program for special education for hearing impaired children at TelAvivUniversity, suggested that Ido meet with him.  It was Prof. Reichstein who sent Ido to talk with an organization called Keshev, an Israeli organization for the hard of hearing which existed for 10 years between 1982 and 1992. It was at Keshev, where Ido met for the first time, other people who were like him.  But not right away of course.  Ido, having remembered what it was like to go to Shema activities was reluctant to attend social activities at Keshev.   However, one day he received an invitation for folk dancing which was something he really liked and for the first time he met people like himself… people who are hard of hearing, who use hearing aids, and speak orally.  Ido was sure he was going to meet and marry someone who was hard of hearing.

    At Keshev, Ido learned that he was eligible for all kinds of services from the National Insurance Institute.  The NII’s first suggestion was that he undergo vocational testing. The testing agency made two suggestions, accounting or warehouse logistics, both of which require very little interpersonal communication.  Ido’s stab at learning bookkeeping lasted for all of three months and his study of architecture, met a similar fate.  However, private career counseling was more successful and through that process he decided to study cinema and television atTelHaiCollege.  It was at Tel Hai when Ido asked the head of the department about whether as someone who was hard of hearing he could study cinema – he was told that this was not the air force and his medical condition was not a basis for acceptance or rejection.  In fact, the head of the department used to send students to Ido saying that he could be there sound man – he did not relate to Ido as being disabled at all.

    Ido completed his degree program and began working for the Israel Association of Community Centers as a coordinator for community television in Kohav Yair and Ramat Eliyahu. It was during this period that the Beit Berl College opened a Bachelors in Education program in Informal Education particularly for community center workers.  Ido attended the program and attained his BEd.

    During this time Ido was busy not only with work and school.  When he returned from Tel Hai, Keshev had folded and Ido decided there was a need to provide information for the hard of hearing.  Ido began producing a newspaper the “Faxiton” which was distributed by a number of organizations for the deaf and hard of hearing.  This was in the years before the internet became popular and the paper was often passed from hand to hand.  Ido would receive feedback and responses to the articles from all over the country.

    In 1997, Ido joined Prof. Reichstein, Avi Blau, Dr. Becky Shocken and Ahiya Kamara in the founding of Bekol – a membership organization for the hard of hearing.  Ido was active as a volunteer in promoting accessibility, and in 2002 began to work for the organization. Three years ago he became the CEO.  Being CEO has been a learning experience and Ido is always learning how to better fulfill this role.

    Ido is married to a women who is fully hearing whom he met through a mutual friend.  Today they live in Tel Aviv with their daughter and son.

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