Number 44 • June December 2009



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Patrizia Ceccarani: Italy

“I got to know about the Lega long ago in August 1969 and I ‘fell in love’ with it so much, I decided to become a volunteer”.

At that time the Lega del Filo d’Oro was a small Association which supported deafblind adults, encouraging awareness and integration. Deafblind and multisensory impaired children were looked after by a Rehabilitation Centre. Patrizia learned about the world of deafblindness as a volunteer, particularly about multisensory impaired children. Her interest intensified. And she wanted to work concterly to meet their needs.

She enrolled at the University of Bologna in 1970 and in 1974 got her degree in Special Pedagogy. She wrote her thesis on secondary autism, communication and education for deafblind people. In addition, she decided to go to an international course in Holland on the education of deafblind children. She made contacts with other professionals which have endured right up to now.

In 1974 Patrizia joined the Lega del Filo d’Oro as a pedagogist. Her belief in research and training to find effective solutions for the deafblind. She understands that contacts made with foreign professionals are fundamental for keeping up-to-date and for increasing scientific knowledge.

Despite her numerous commitments, she is still a teacher on specialisation courses for teachers and assistants. She has published some books and collaborated on editing specialised journals on handicaps, such as HD. Patrizia’s interest in medicine and collaboration with medical specialists led to the founding of the Diagnostic Centre in 1990.

Patrizia took on the management of rehabilitation at the Osimo centre, first as a temporary measure (1994) and then permanently and she also supervises the “new-born” Lesmo and Molfetta services and the Day Centre in Pescara.
Sergei Serokin


Deafblind expert David Brown receives honorary degree from CMU

David Michael Brown received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Central Michigan University in May. Brown, an education specialist with California Deaf-Blind Services, has given various lectures and training programs around the world. His published work has been translated into several languages. He serves on several advisory boards including the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation and been awarded many professional honours for his volunteer work.

David Brown, from Wales originally, established Sense’s (UK) family led assessment and support service for deafblind children and is widely revered and fondly regarded by families all over the world.


Dr Mike Steer AM – for Service to Education


Dr Mike Steer, a tireless worker within RIDBC Renwick Centre and in the international field, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the recent 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

As RIDBC’s Senior Lecturer in Vision Impairment, Dr Steer, with Lecturer Fran Gentle and the assistance of some of RIDBC’s specialist staff, guides professionals through Graduate Certificate, Masters Degree and PhD level courses, equipping them with the necessary skills to teach and assist people with vision impairments. He has developed this service with exceptional success.


Sharon Barrey Grassick writes:

In addition to his contributions to the field of Vision Impairment, Mike has also made enormous contributions to the field of deafblindness, including the following:

• an active member of the ADBC (Australian DeafBlind Council) since 1997

• editor of ADBC’s newsletter, Beacon.

• instrumental in organising courses at Renwick Centre specific to Deafblindness and Multiple Sensory Impairment, bringing a number of international speakers to Australia

• a mentor to many students and staff members.

“Personally, I have found Mike’s knowledge and wisdom invaluable in regard to support and services to people who are deafblind in Australia. He is one of a kind and so very deserving of this honour – one of Australia’s most prestigious”.

The grateful Editor of this magazine comments:

“Mike has proved to be a tremendous “Country Correspondent” for DbI Review! His comprehensive copy is a pleasure to receive – always full of activities and public policy developments reflecting this vast region. As we converse by email Mike never forgets he is “a son of Devon” (a beautiful county in England) and also keeps me updated with sporting and climatic developments down under! Thank you Mike and warmest congratulations and well deserved!”


Mike’s citation reads:


“For service to education through the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, and to the promotion of professional standards for vision support teachers in Pacific Island countries”


Communication and Congenital Deafblindness

After five years four booklets and DVDs are the result of a Dutch – Nordic project on Communication and Congenital Deafblindness. The four booklets are written in English, but separate translation packages have been developed for translation purposes into other languages by organisations in the field of deafblindness. The translations into Danish, Dutch, French, German, Swedish, and Finish are ready or are running. Translations into Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese are planned to start in the near future. Perkins School for the Blind in Boston are reprinting the English booklets for the overseas market.

The main purpose of the project is to make the current knowledge on how best to develop communication with congenital deafblind persons available for families and professionals involved in the field. The project emerged within Deafblind International’s Communication Network and is therefore closely related to the theoretical framework being developed within and around this network since the late 80ties.

The main content of the booklets follow the following format:

1. general knowledge on how all human beings develop

2. deafblind specific knowledge and practical intervention strategies

3. written examples and video illustrations on how to imply this knowledge on an individual level.

The booklets should address all ages and give examples of the big differences in the present population.

The feedback we have got till know, is that the knowledge is practise based and well structured in a theoretical framework and visualised with good practise examples on the DVD. Just what professionals in the field need in their practical work and for staff development programmes.

The titles of the booklets are:

I Congenital deafblindness and the core principles of congenital deafblindness

II Contact and social interaction

III Meaning Making

IV Transition to the cultural language.

Without the hard work and the willingness to share knowledge from many Nordic and Dutch professionals and the financial support by Revalidatiefonds (The Netherlands), Det Obelske familiefond, Oticon Fonden, Det Kommunale Momsfond, Nordic Centre for Welfare (Denmark), this would not have been possible. The project leadership concerning the content was in the hands of Inger Rødbroe (The Danish Resource Centre on Congenital Deafblindness). The technical project leadership was in the hands of Annet Eikelboom (Viataal).

The booklets in English and Dutch can be ordered via viataalshop@viataal.nl; in Danish via www.matcen.dk; in Swedish via www.nkcdb.se; and in French via www.cresam.org




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