XV Deafblind International World Conference
Bourbon Convention Ibirapuera
27th September – 1st October, 2011
GRUPO BRASIL, a consortium of organizations that provide services to deafblind people in Brasil, and ADEFAV, a resource center, is pleased to announce they are hosting the 15th Deafblind International World Conference on Deafblindness in São Paulo Brazil, September 27 through October 01, 2011.
Inclusion for a lifetime of opportunities – has been selected as the theme for this conference.
This theme carries forward the theme of the last World Conference in Perth Australia (2007) which was titled ‘World Wide Connections – breaking the isolation’.
The theme ‘Inclusion for a lifetime of opportunities’ will explore options for people who are deafblind to develop relationships with their family members, their friends, their schools or colleges and those professionals working closely with them.
The conference will review and analyse situations that not only connect deafblind people with one another but enable the development of their best potential together with achieving their independence.
This is seen as a great opportunity for Latin America to share its own experiences with the rest of the world and to highlight the special needs and issues of the Brazilian context. In a sense, this will be seen as a DbI Conference with the face of Latin America.
Call for Papers
The Conference Scientific Committee wish to invite people representing all facets of deafblindness to submit abstracts for the open workshops and poster sessions that will take place during the conference. A number of special focus areas to fit the theme are being suggested, which include inclusive education, assistive technology, advocacy, transition to adult life etc.
The Scientific Committee has developed an information package which will be available from the website in October 2010 for anyone interested in presenting a paper or poster session.
Check out the website at www.dbi2011.com.br
Where in the World is Perkins?
Lina Sabbagh came to Perkins Educational Leadership Program to be immersed in educational techniques for children who are deafblind.
After nine months observing educators and working with students in Perkins Deafblind Program, Sabbagh returned to the Lebanese School for the Blind and Deaf to take a lead role in the establishment of a program for children who are deafblind. Today Sabbagh uses the teaching strategies she learned at Perkins to foster communication skills in her students.
“Going into Perkins, I thought that deafblind children were incapable of completing anything,” Sabbagh recalled. “Throughout the year I was surprised to see how [Perkins students] progress and gain new skills.”
Lina Sabbagh started out as an art teacher at the Lebanese School for the Blind and Deaf before advancing to a full-time classroom. The school’s director, Wadad Lahoud, had studied in Perkins Educational Leadership Program during the 1950s, at a time when the Lebanese school served students who were deaf or visually impaired but did not yet cater to students who were deafblind.
Seeing Sabbagh’s innovation with students and commitment to teaching, Lahoud recommended her for the ELP – convinced that with the right kind of experience, Sabbagh might institute deafblind instruction at the Lebanese school.
When she came to Perkins campus in 2007, Sabbagh immersed herself in practicing tactile finger spelling and sign language, learning braille and in finding new ways to communicate with students who are deafblind.
Through her studies and work with students in Perkins Deafblind Program, Sabbagh discovered new strategies for communicating with students who are deafblind. Since returning to the Lebanese school, Sabbagh has included these and other practices with students in the school’s new deafblind program.
“The first method I applied was the calendar [box] system. I gave the child two boxes, one for the beginning of the activity and a second for the end. I would put the tool s/he needed to complete this activity in the first box. When s/he is done, s/he would put what s/he did in the second box,” Sabbagh explained.
The calendar box introduces the key element of teaching time frame and anticipation to children who are deafblind. An object that represents an activity, i.e., a spoon meaning “mealtime” is placed in a box to the child’s left. When the student is guided to the left-hand box, s/he feels the object and the teacher makes the sign identifying an activity. After completing an action, s/he places the object in the “finished” box on the right. This technique helps a student without sight or vision to understand time and establishes pre-literate left-to-right interpretation of signals so fundamental to learning to read.
Beyond strategies and tactics, Sabbagh says, “I learned that I must believe in my students, and that the more effort I put into teaching them, the more I will learn from them.”
Sabbagh continues to take the lead from her students, using an individual approach to match their abilities and interests.
“I observe what they do to know on which level to communicate with them,” Sabbagh says. “I now see that deafblind children are capable of doing anything as long as they are taught properly.”
Reprinted from Perkins School for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
Bridges – connecting people:
The 8th Conference of the Acquired Deafblindness Network, 29 September – 3 October, 2010
City of Aalborg, Denmark
Using this theme the conference will explore notions of developing relationships between people with deafblindness, families, friends and professionals. Bridges not only connect people but enable movement and development, independence and growth of potential.
Among the conference topics are dementia and deafblindness, haptic communications, practical use of ICF (International Classification of Functioning) in deafblindness, relations in families with deafblindness, and much more.
The conference language will be English.
Deadline for final registration: 31July 2010
All conference registrations and hotel bookings must be made online through the conference website: www.dbcent.dk/adbn 2010
Preliminary Conference Program details
are also available on the conference website. For any questions about the conference program, registration or accommodations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.