This week marks the 30th annual Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week. This began with President Reagan issuing a proclamation for national advocacy of achievements of those in the Deaf-Blind community. To celebrate this week and our friends and family that are deaf-blind, here’s some information to help you understand and take action!
“Deafblindness means concomitant hearing and vision impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness”. (IDEA, 2004)
- There are approximately 70,000 people in the US that are deaf-blind
- 10,000 are children and youth
- The causes for Deaf-Blindness are related to 200 different conditions and over half of them are genetic.
- From the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults, you can learn guidelines for communicating with our deaf-blind friends and family.
- Learn about some of the famous deaf-blind educators, activists, and artists.
- The book For The Benefit of Those Who See, you can learn about Laura Bridgman, the first deaf-blind person successfully educated.
If you’d like to get involved as an advocate for the deaf-blind in our community, there are multiple ways.
- Spread the word on social media with #TGIM
- Donate or volunteer for deaf-blind non-profits, like The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind
For more details head over to the Minnesota DeafBlind Project.