Fear, ignorance, and indifference pose greater threats to the accessibility community than physical barriers. Since changing attitudes and improving communication has the most potential to effect positive change, it’s time to gain a better understanding of why service animals are not a pet project.
Jocelynn Johnson, is a Geospatial Analyst for the Government of Manitoba. She is a graduate of both Red River College and the University of Manitoba (BSc), and is currently pursuing a third degree. While part of an average Winnipeg family, at age seven Jocelynn went from having perfect hearing to being completely Deaf overnight from meningitis. She became the first child in Manitoba to receive a Cochlear Implant. In her twenties, she had to have it removed after a medical incident, effectively losing her hearing for a second time. As a result, she has gone between existing in the hearing world, the Deaf world, and the grey area in-between. Since receiving her Hearing Ear Service Dog nearly nine years ago, she has recognized a gap in education about service animals, and has strived to narrow this gap by educating formally or informally whenever possible. Jocelynn is the co-chair and founder of the Civil Servants with Abilities Network and a founder of the Deaf Professionals Network. She is also President of the Manitoba GIS Users Group.