Number 56 • January 2016
Deafblind International was formerly known as the International Association for the Education of Deafblind People.
DbI Review is published twice yearly, the two editions are dated January and July.
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Cover: Transitioning at Bhakti Luher
in Malang, Indonesia
LAST COPY DATE FOR THE NEXT EDITION: May 18, 2016
A message from the President
Dear Friends and colleagues,
We have spent a bit of time recovering from our biggest event this year which was of course the DbI World conference, last May in Romania. The last DbI Review was packed full of news from the conference, so as always our job is to keep the momentum going from all the brilliant ideas we hear there.
We held our Management Committee meeting in October in London when we were able to review and catch up on a number of actions. We will be confirming these with the Board. In the meantime I can also confirm we are aware of how important Networks are to people. The other area that came out of the conference was the need to increase our diversity and representation. This has always been a challenge for us so I’m pleased that we are trying to give this more focus.
I know delegates at the conference have been following up their own actions. I am aware of at least some as both Sense and Kentalis were privileged to host Dmitry and Russian colleagues to the UK and Netherlands. I also know that the Get Out There Group or GOT group (as part of DbI youth network) were touring Australia, so huge thanks to Senses Australia for supporting the young people to have this opportunity.
We remain in touch with our partners the WFBD and ICEVI. We are planning for the next Board to link with ICEVI’s conference and meetings in Florida August 2016. No doubt Matthew is well ahead of me and our members already know.
I know the team are continuing to work hard for the next European conference in Denmark in 2017 and of course Kaye and her team at Able Australia have started the hard work towards the next World Conference in 2019.
For all our organisations it’s really difficult as funding continues to be reduced. At the time of writing, the world and the context we work and live in continues to be a frightening place. I think all we can do is continue to work where we can and remain true to our values. Every small step helps in difficult times.
The Management Committee look forward to meeting our friends and colleagues at the Board meeting next summer in Orlando Florida.
With Best Wishes
Welcome to the 56th Edition of DbI Review. With each edition I continue to be amazed by the myriad of activities going on to improve the lives of individuals with deafblindness. What excites me too about this issue is the growth of science initiatives. As someone with a science background this gives me much satisfaction.
The lead-off article in this edition is written by Marianne Riggio, from Perkins, titled ‘Learning from the Field’ represents a more detailed version of her presentation in Bucharest. As a renowned teacher in the field and experienced in international work, Marianne’s article is filled with valuable advice.
Copious science related articles make up over one quarter of this magazine. This reflects a growing focus on research to assist practitioners in the field of deafblindness, as Susan Bruce explained in her article on the Action in Research Series, which begins a new Research section of the magazine.
This section includes:
SENSE research strategy exploring the impact of deafblindness across the lifespan as described by Director of Research,
Dr. Anna McGee;
Dr. Nadja Hogner’s comprehensive research on Psychosocial aspects of Usher syndrome, which is a follow-up of her paper in the previous edition documenting stress reported by individuals with Usher syndrome Type 2;
The fifth and final article on the topic of Self-regulation in CHARGE syndrome, from Dr. Tim Hartshorne (Professor of Psychology, Central Michigan University) and his University research associates. Notable experts in CHARGE syndrome
have collaborated with
Dr. Hartshorne through this important series, including David Brown, Dr. Jude Nicholas, Gayle Deuce and Dr. Andrea Wanka;
A summary report from the Canadian Deafblind Association about its recently completed 15-year follow-up results to the initial Late Manifestations of Congenital Rubella syndrome conducted in 1999, and
an important PhD study underway examining the mental health and well being of individuals with deafblindness living in Australia.
Several scientific related articles from the Nordic Network on Cognition outline the development of assessment tools to assess the cognitive abilities of individuals with congenital deafblindness as well as measuring the cognitive decline of those with acquired deafblindness. As Network leader Eric Hans Frolander explains, new assessment tools need to be created for these individuals as the standard psychological tests developed for the regular population are not suitable for these sensory disabled individuals, some who may have other syndromes that might mask accepted testing methodologies.
From Denmark, Dorti Lindberg Jensen presents a very thought provoking discussion about important ethical considerations when working with individuals with deafblindness. Dorti Lindberg Jensen urges communication partners to respect the differences between themselves and the person with deafblindness and should appreciate that their attitude towards life may not be the same as their deafblind partner.
As usual there are many country reports describing an array of exciting activities to improve the lives of people with deafblindness. The reports include: anniversaries (Sense’s 50th and CDBA Ontario Chapter’s 25th); camping activities (India and Russia); an article from Russia delving into the archives of famous Russian educators from an earlier era in the field; a synopsis about the 16th European Rehabilitation and Cultural Week for the Deafblind held in Moscow, August 03–09, 2015; a news update from the Holy Land Institute’s Deafblind Unit located in Jordan; a report from the Anne Sullivan Centre in Ireland describing their busy past year and an article from Denmark describing an inclusive housing village called “The Globe”, which director Henriette Hermann Olesen describes as a prime example of inclusion, a human right.
A feature article in the Country Report section is from Sense International Kenya and titled Two Voices – One Dream. Here Emma Wambui and Rebecca Murunga, in their roles as Sense International Ambassadors, use their knowledge and passion to increase support for deafblind people and their families to create change across their country.
Its always a pleasure to feature articles from Latin America. Perkins International Latin America has two interesting articles in this edition. The first one reports about their attempts to reach out to indigenous peoples living in remote regions of Latin America to provide services to those individuals identified with multiple disabilities and deafblindness. María Antonia Vazquez and Graciela Ferioli describe efforts by their colleagues to span vast geographical, language and cultural divides to provide essential services to these disabled individuals living in vastly different realities.The second article is titled International Strategies to enhance the EFAVI Campaign in Latin America, part of “Education For All children with Visual Impairment” – a global program of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), acting in partnership with the World Blind Union (WBU) and backed by UNESCO and UNICEF.
The DbI Networks continue to demonstrate strong levels of activity. The Youth Network’s ‘Got to Act’ players followed up on their performance of the Helen Keller Story at the Bucharest DbI Conference with another performance during their visit to Senses Australia in Perth. The vibrant Outdoor Network reported a successful International Outdoor Week this past September in Norway. The Communication Network was in a celebratory mood this past November with their announcement of the first volume of their online journal: Journal of Deafblind Studies on Communication. Riitta Lahtinen and Russ Palmer from the Social Haptic Network reported on their activities including experience with haptices in various hospital settings.
Finally, this edition features an article from two teachers in Denmark inquiring how to create an innovative and exciting teaching environment to inspire students with deafblindness to participate
in sporting activities, make new friends across various levels of function and develop communicatively. Their answer is APA: Adapted Physical Activity, a method which brings joy and pleasure to physical education, allowing students to experience independence, empowerment and equality regardless of their level
Thanks again to the many contributors for sharing your projects and advice to the rest of the world. Keep the articles coming!