Actual "Deaf" VODA Client
As a Firearm Education and Training Consultant, I have the luxury and the opportunity to train people from all different walks of life, all different kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds and people from all social statuses (poor, working class, middle-class, and the upper-class). But, what really touches me the most; is when I work with a Disabled Shooter.
When I use the terminology Disabled Shooter, what I mean by that is that either the Shooter is deaf, blind, or has suffered from some sort of physical aliment that does not allow them to operate a firearm in the same manner that a "normal person" (whatever the hell that is) would be able to do. It is important to understand that there are many different types of impairments that exist today, but in regards to shooting, we must examine the top three common impairments that Disabled Shooters (D.S.) may face:
Actual "Deaf" VODA Client Interview
Believe it or not, the Visual Impairment is not just limited to people who were born blind per se. The Visual Impairment can also occur due to old age or from exposure to environmental conditions or circumstances which bring about the decrease in ones vision. When working with this particular demographic it is essential for the instructor or Educator to understand that intermediate shooting distances may not be possible and long-distance shooting will be simply out of the question may not be favorable or with in grasp of due to the Shooters impairment.
As basic and or commonsense as it may sound, many instructors overlook this barrier. For instance and for whatever reason, they [some instructors] fail to see the correlation between the size of the sights on a pistol, rifle or shotgun either being too small or too big, being too illuminated or not being illuminated enough (the later is the most common), or simply not being the optimum fit for the Shooter being trained. We must be sensitive to these facts. And we must not only be sensitive but we must also cater to the Shooter whom of which is being trained.
Keep in mind that a Shooter being visually impaired can take a toll on the Shooter especially in context of night shooting or low light shooting. This is something that should be not only took it in consideration but should be thoroughly examined. Visual issues such as depth perception, the possibility of the Shooters inability to distinguish the difference between certain colors, a decrease in the Shooters field of vision and much more is something that we must take in consideration as being Visual Impairment takes a toll on the Shooter.
Even more than that, with all of these obstacles one faces while having a visual impairment may not only just make it difficult for the Shooter who is actually learning but it can also frustrate them as well. And when the average individual gets frustrated with something, there's an increased likelihood that they will simply quit whatever it is that they were trying to learn or took an interest in the first place.
VODA Client In Session
There is something to be understood when it comes to understanding how having a hearing impairment affects the Shooter in both the positive and negative aspect. There are two types of hearing impairments they are as follows:
Sensorineural - Nerve damage, sound cannot be processed from the ear to the brain.
Conductive - Damage to the ear canal or some type of damage to the parts within the ear.
Something to think about: Since an Disabled Shooter who is deaf and who uses Sign Language to communicate, convey, and articulate their thoughts and expressions cannot hear English or whatever language you speak then that language will be considered a second language for them. Why? Because Sign Language is their first language.
Again, this is something to think about. Because if you as an instructor and most certainly as an Educator must figure out away in order to communicate instruction or transfer knowledge to the Shooter that is being trained. How do you accomplish this seemingly impossible task? To get some ideas and or concepts on how to accomplish this please feel free to give me a call at 910-604-6986 for a consultation.
When I talk about physical impairment I'm talking about Shooters who are bound by wheelchair, suffer from Multiple Scoliosis (MS), and one of the forms of Arthritis. Any of these physical impairments and others can wreck havoc on a Shooter! Some physical disabilities occur at birth other physical disabilities occur with being involved in accidents and others are due to aging. I can't stress this enough, we must be sensitive to the needs of the Shooters out here who are suffering from these kinds of disabilities.
For Shooters that are bound by wheelchair, special attention needs to be given to having them shoot from odd positions and alternative forms of mobility (groundwork). Explained: wheelchair bound Shooters are at a disadvantage because first they are in a wheelchair and secondly if they for whatever reason get knocked out of the chair they are in a very vulnerable position. Thus, this needs to be thoroughly addressed by either the instructor or the Educator.
Simply drawing the firearm and pressing the trigger from the standing (in this case seated position) simply will not give the Shooter the necessary tools needed to survive an actual Gun-Fight. Remember, Gun-Fighting is a dynamic application, event or phenomena and so should the training be for the Shooter that is learning this element of the Gun Game.
VODA Client In Session
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is something that occurs when the Myelin Sheath suffers from some sort of damage that results in scarring around the spinal cord nerve fibers of an individual. When this occurs it interferes with transmission of messages from the CNS (Central Nervous System) to the Brain. It should also be noted that Multiple Scoliosis or MS can also affect the ocular (eye) nerves as well.
During times of flair ups, Shooters that suffer from MS may also have a decreased function in the motor skills. Some may suffer from fatigue; some may also suffer from visual disturbances and memory loss. Very often times they may also suffer from depression as well as a host of other issues that may be specific to the individual. MS is not easily predictable as to when flair ups may occur and the progression of the disease may affect each individual different to a lesser or greater degree.
This is a very relevant disability for Shooters that suffer from MS. Why? Because they don't know when an episode may occur precisely. This means that there is always an open window or always a possibility that they could have an episode at the wrong place at the wrong time. And if this unlikely possibility were to occur it would significantly put them at an increased risk of either being faced with an opportunistic convict or having to deal with irritability that may serve as a catalyst to conflicts that increase the likelihood that lethal force may be used.
Lastly, but one of the most common physical limitation in regards to Shooters is Arthritis. For those that don't know, arthritis is the inflammation of the joints in which there is a reduction in the range of motion and flexibility of the Shooter. Whether it be any mild form of Arthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis it can still be very discomforting or simply outright painful for the Shooter to engage in certain motions and mechanical abilities such as cycling or “CHARGING” the slide and or managing or “mitigating” the recoil generated by the firearm while DISCHARGING it.
Even more than that, it is my position that the Disabled Shooter (DS) is a very neglected demographic with in the Gun Game. Some of the complaints that I've heard from DS's is that instructors either do not have the patience to work with them or instructors do not know how to effectively work instruct them for optimum productivity for the Best shootings experience. This is especially true as I issues specifically more often than not ask for Self-Defense (SD) training when it comes to owning and training with weapon systems for Personal Protection Solutions (PPS).
Beyond instructors being impatient and often times unread and untrained in regards to helping Disabled Shooters in the rim of firearm education and training; there are other obstacles that must be overcome as well not only when comes to training but when it comes to communicating and articulating their needs with coaches, instructors and trainers. Some other barriers are as follows:
"Deaf" VODA Client "just feeling the trigger"
As an Educator, I want you to hear me good and I want you to hear me well. Disabled Shooters or D.S. ARE NOT stupid they ARE NOT dumb and often times they are more coherent than you. What I have learned since I have been working with them is that they will offer you whether you are in instructor or an Educator a very specific insight into how they perceive things versus how you perceive things.
Moreover, I would also put out there that every instructor and Educators should be looking forward to learn something from a Disabled Shooter. Furthermore, Disabled Shooters wish that you would stop treating them as if they are fragile and that they will break. As nothing is further from the truth as I have found as an Educator that they are more resilient, more well read, more adaptive, more flexible and often times more resourceful than "normal people".
When working with a Disabled Shooter, does it take a little bit more time? Yes! However, it is well worth it because if we can help someone to save at least their own life then it is worth taking all the time in the world to do so. I would like to give a special thanks to Deaf (hearing disabled) VODA Client Cyera Bibbs as she is a Deaf Freelance MakeUp Artist (Makeup Artist and Esthetician). To obtain services from her you may reach her at Sparkledivas.com
Cyera, I would personally like to say thank you fro all that you have taught me and I look forward to working with you again soon – VODA. It was not only a privilege but an honor to continue to have you as a VODA Client. Keep Shooting.