Angie Orlando 1

Student ASL interpreter Abbe Marchetta (left) interprets Michael Reiner's interview question to deafblind writer Angie Orlando (right) Friday, November 15, 2019. 

 

Kent native Angie Orlando loves to tell stories. 

However, Angie’s story is one with many ups and downs. The Kent community will get to see her documentary called “I’m So Amazing” this coming spring. In the movie, Angie discusses her experiences as a person who is deafblind. Deafblindness is a condition where someone has little or no hearing or sight. Angie was diagnosed with deafblindness when she was 13 years old. 

The title of the movie is sarcastic because Angie does not want to be known as amazing. She wants to be seen as a normal everyday person like everyone else. 

“I’m not amazing or special just because I have disabilities,” she said. “I’m like other people. I have the same thoughts and hopes and dreams and I have the same types of troubles.”

The movie covers a topic in disability studies called inspiration porn. This concept happens when able bodied people unnecessarily congratulate people with disabilities for doing basic activities. 

Angie graduated from Kent State University with a degree in special education in 1992.  After graduation, she moved to Maryland and worked for Clinton Grove Elementary and then Sylvan Learning Center. She got married and had her son Joseph. She left both jobs after short stints due to workplace discrimination.  When Joseph was six months old, her condition worsened and she became completely blind and deaf. 

She has also been through major hardships. Angie was abused by her husband. She won custody of her son and moved back to Kent. She then started to write about her experiences. She got her MFA in creative writing from Ashland University in 2017.

Angie has had her own blog called Deaf, Blind, and Determined for about a decade. She published her first book of poems titled “Through The Tunnel: Becoming Deafblind” in November 2018. Angie uses two forms of adaptive technology to help her write: the BrailleNote Apex and the Braille Sense U2. She explained that writing gives her a voice. 

“It allows me to express myself,” Angie said. “I have a communication disability, I can’t always say what I want. Or people just ignore me. Writing puts me on equal grounds with the rest of the world.”

Angie said the movie will help change the perspectives that people have about people with disabilities. 

“Most people with disabilities are regular people so that we should not put them on a pedestal because they are deafblind,” she said. “The approach of the movie is teaching people how to view me and how to view people with disabilities.”

'I'm So Amazing' is scheduled to premiere on April 3, 2020 at Kent State University. The film is produced by Leah Subak and directed by Dave Smeltzer. 

You can follow Angie on her blog: 

 

Angie Orlando Pic 2

Michael Reiner (left) asks deafblind writer Angie Orlando an interview question while student ASL interpreter Abbe Marchetta interprets the message to her. Student ASL interpreter Erica Tannhof (right)  watches on Friday November, 15 2019. 

I think this is going to be a great movie. I completely agree with Angie’s beliefs about people with disabilities. We do not want to be known as heroes. True equality comes from treating people with disabilities as they are-people. 

 

Contact Michael Reiner at mreiner4@kent.edu.

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