Dbi review issue Number 45 • January – June 2010

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1John Tracy Clinic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(right) The front of the Clinic and a preschool teacher walking children

John Tracy Clinic (www.jct.org) is a private, non-profit education center for infants and preschool children with hearing loss in Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded by Louise Treadwell Tracy, wife of actor Spencer Tracy, in 1942. It provides free, parent-centered services worldwide. The Clinic has over 60 years of expertise in the spoken language option. The Clinic offers worldwide family services, local family services, professional education, preschool, hearing testing, and more.

2 Boys Town National Research Hospital


Since the opening of Boys Town National Research Hospital in 1977, the hospital has been internationally recognized as a leader in clinical and research programs focusing on childhood deafness, visual impairment and related communication disorders.

DbI Happenings

Deafblind International is now a registered association!

Stan Munroe

It might be surprising to many that DbI was never a legally registered organization. This is despite the fact that DbI rebranded itself with a new constitution and organizational structure thirteen years ago.

At a meeting in Madrid, Spain on July 18, 1997, the outgoing Executive Committee of the International Association of Educators of Deafblind Persons or IAEDB, its previous name, approved a new constitution guiding the activities of the newly named organization. Since that time, the constitution was amended several times to reflect required changes to the operation of the organization.

However, it was becoming so more clear to the Management Committee and Council that not being legally constituted was seriously limiting DbI’s ability to campaign for funds and to receive international recognition, in particular with the United Nations. It was decided that, since the DbI Treasurer was employed by Viataal (now called Kintalis) in Sint-Michielsgestel, and that the finances of DbI were being managed by Viataal, it would be expedient to seek registration in the Netherlands.

After considerable discussion, the DbI Management Committee and Council approved the draft constitution prepared by the notary firm Huijbregts Notarissen, Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands. Deafblind International became a legally registered organization on February 08, 2010.

How does the new constitution differ from the former one? Basically the new constitution bares very close resemblance, despite the Dutch legalese, to the former wording of DbI’s constitution. DbI continues to be a membership driven association, with its objectives, organizational structure and operational procedures virtually unchanged from before.

Several name changes should be noted in the new constitution. The Council, which is responsible for managing the affairs of the organization, is now called the Board. The General Assembly, which was the name of the former general meeting of the membership, is now simply referred to as the General Meeting.

Perhaps the most significant change with the new constitution is the provision for an annual General Meeting. Instead of a meeting of the entire membership or a General Meeting at the time of the World Conference (usually every four years), there is now an obligation for a General Meeting to be held each year.

At each annual General Meeting, DbI Management is to present to the Membership for approval, the state of affairs of the Association, the management conducted and the audited financial report. This change is recognized as a significant improvement in the accountability of management of DbI to its voting membership.

For a complete copy of the new DbI constitution, go to the DbI website www.deafblindinternational.org

It is up to you!

Who will take the leadership for DbI in the period 2011 – 2015?

Who will become the next President and Vice-Presidents of DbI?

Are you, or someone you know, interested to take on one of these officers roles? We are seeking dedicated and passionate persons who can take the lead in the further development of DbI, those who are willing and able to work in close collaboration with families, professionals and persons with deafblindness throughout the world.

Who will have a seat on the council (board)*?

By serving on the Council (Board), Corporate members and Networks have a great opportunity to take DbI into the future, by taking on the responsibility of managing the association.

2010: Nominations year

The DbI Nominations Committee urge you to have your say and take part in the process towards the election of the future President, Vice-Presidents and Council (Board) members of DbI, to be ratified during the General Assembly in the upcoming DbI International Conference in São Paulo , Brazil in 2011.

The first call for nominations should have reached all members by now. We hope you take the opportunity to make sure there will be a solid and dedicated leadership within DbI for the next four year cycle.

Guidelines for nominations

When you consider nominations for President, Vice-Presidents and Council (Board) members, please have these guiding points from the Nominations Committee in mind:

1. The nominated person and corporate body must be a paid up member of DbI.

2. The nominated person must be willing to stand.

3. The nominated person should have the resources and capacity to attend meetings.

4. The nominated person must have the best interests of DbI at heart and approach the work in a positive and honest way.

Concerning the officers –
President and Vice-Presidents:

In addition to the above, the nominated persons must be able to meet the following criteria:

1. The nominated persons must be able to be unifying and demonstrate fairness and honesty.

2. The nominated person needs to be a good communicator and be able to represent DbI at the highest level.

3. A nominated Vice-President should be willing and able to deputise for the President, if necessary.

The Nominations Committee is seeking as wide representation as possible for the Council (Board). The Council (Board) will be composed of a President, two Vice-Presidents, the immediate Past-President, and no more than 35 other members, of which no more than 15 members will represent large corporates. This means that there will be up to 20 seats available for small corporates and networks. Council (Board) members will be appointed for a period of 4 years.

2011: Election year

There will be held an electronic ballot to decide who will be President and Vice-Presidents. After the nominations process is terminated by the end of January 2011, all members who have the right to cast a vote will receive information on the voting process. This electronic ballot will be carried out from March to June 2011.

Note that DbI membership for 2011 must be paid by March 2011, in order for their vote to be accepted.

We hope you will take your time and consider thoroughly who you would like to see in these positions after the General Assembly during the upcoming DbI International Conference!

Any questions concerning nominations may be put to Knut Johansen knut.johansen@signo.no, Norway – Chair of the Nominations Committee which has the following members:

Jackie Brennan, USA

Graciela Ferioli, Argentina

Celestine Hare, Australia

William Green, Italy (advisor and outgoing President)

*Note: See article on new constitution which refers to what we once called DbI Council now as the Board.

Why Strategic planning is important

For most of us, our central focus is people who are deafblind. We work hard to support, work alongside and communicate with them. We also strive to learn more about the disability and to develop best practices to improve services to this population. Strategic planning on the other hand is boring, bureaucratic and a long way from what we really want to be doing!

Some of this is maybe true. However we can agree that we need frameworks to give context to our work; we need plans to work to and we want goals to strive for. A strategic plan will give order to our thinking, improve the paths of communication, help us to prioritise and guide how we allocate funds. A strategic plan should give a common understanding and help us to share the same vision.

The strategic plan is significant to all members of DbI and everyone can have a part to play in its development. Small and large corporates give expertise and funding; networks and individuals bring ideas and energy. The DbI Management Committee and Council try to make sense of all this and bring it all together.

Our current strategic plan covers 2009-2011. The DbI Council is aiming to review the current plan during its meeting in September 2010. This will allow the Council to have a new draft strategic plan (2012-2014) ready when the new officers and DbI Council are elected at the General Assembly in Brazil 2011. I’m sure the new Council will still want to put their ‘stamp’ on the strategic plan so that everyone agrees and understands the priorities for 2012 and beyond.

The current strategic plan states:

Our Vision

To be the international association which promotes services for deafblind people around the world.
Our Purpose

To bring together professionals, researchers, families, deafblind people and administrators to raise awareness of deafblindness. Central to our work is to support the development of services to enable a good quality of life for children who are deafblind and adults of all ages.

The 2009-2011 strategic plan has three main strands as follows:

1. Strive for an enhanced organizational capacity to meet the needs of people who are deafblind.

2. Influence the development of services for the benefit of people who are deafblind and their families around the world.

3. Strive to encourage improvements in practice and creation of new knowledge by facilitating improved communication and networking.

Many people have contributed to the large amount of work that has been done under each of these headings.

In very general terms the first theme covers the organisational strength of DbI so it refers to much of the secretariat work where systems and processes, website development have all improved. The capacity of the organisation also refers to our ever improving financial systems, the new constitution as well as membership and the nominations process.

The second theme refers to advocacy, awareness about deafblindness, influencing policy and working with partners. The final theme amongst other things includes DbI conference work, the information role and developing and supporting networks.

For our 2012-14 strategic plan we may not change our vision, purpose and these broad themes but we should consider priorities within them. Inevitably some of the work will be on going, for instance I’m sure a new strategic plan will still have conference and network tasks high on our agenda. However do we want to consider new priorities? We could probably do more work around income generation and fundraising. More money is not an end in itself but it would obviously help us in the longer term to do more activities. Is research an area people want to prioritise or do we want to have a focus on education or the elderly?

There are many ways to get involved. You can write to me directly or to Elvira Edwards at the secretariat. You can speak to your corporate representative or get involved in a network. Every idea is helpful and I know there is plenty of energy and knowledge out there so share it with us so we can develop a strategic plan that isn’t boring and bureaucratic but truly helps us in our work with people who are deafblind.
Gill Morbey

Strategic planning co-ordinator

Contact gmorbey@sensescotland.org.uk or Elvira Edwards elvira.edwards@senses.asn.au or check out the DbI website for a full copy of the DbI Strategic Plan, 2009-2011.

DbI Review is now available in Spanish

DbI is pleased to report that the 44th edition of DbI Review is now available for Spanish readers, thanks to support from ONCE, the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind. The Spanish edition is available on the DbI website as follows: www.deafblindinternational.org/standard/publications.html.

This task was achieved by Pilar Gomez of ONCE for undertaking the translation; Eileen Boothroyd for editing and Geoff Dunn for graphic design.

A Spanish translation was something that DbI had achieved for some years in the past but this generous support from ONCE has now made it possible once again. It is a first step in satisfying a growing demand for DbI publications to be accessible in languages other than English.

With ONCE’s continuous partnership, we should expect that the current edition and future ones will also be available in Spanish. This should further encourage membership in Spanish speaking countries and motivate professionals from ONCE and Latin America to write articles for the DbI Review that will be more widely available to the growing international community.

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