AADB in Action

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AADB Today – – New Changes

Beginning with the May issue, the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) will publish our newsletter, “AADB Today”, twice a month instead of once monthly on a trial basis. In addition, the readers will have a choice of html or plain text for their reading preference. We wish to increase public awareness of the deaf-blind community, and provide news to our readers more quickly and efficiently. Please let us know how you like this and if it works for you.

We will send out the first part of “AADB Today” around the middle of the month. This newsletter will include legislative and advocacy issues that affect all people who have combined vision and hearing loss. In addition, we will have articles on how people can support AADB’s mission.

The second part of “AADB Today” will spotlight a deaf-blind individual who is making a difference in his or her community. Also, we will highlight activities, conferences and other events focusing on deaf-blindness around the country. We will send this second part out towards the end of each month.

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Online Donation Program

As part of our fund-raising strategies, you can now give to AADB through our online donation program. With this program, you can set up your own personal account, manage your donation transactions and preferences, and set your email reading format online. In addition, you will be able to give to AADB whenever you wish, at any time through a secure site that accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover and American Express credit cards.

Support AADB! Make a donation today at http://www.aadb.org.

New Board Member

The AADB Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Karyn Campbell from Illinois. She is replacing Janet Sand, who formerly served on the Board of Directors. Karyn is from Illinois and is active with the American Council of the Blind. We will have her biography available in the June “AADB Today”.

AADB lifetime memberships available again

AADB lifetime memberships are back by popular demand! The AADB Board approved making lifetime memberships a permanent part of AADB’s membership choices. Dues for lifetime are at the same rate: $500. For a membership form, go to http://www.aadb.org, or contact the AADB Office. Become an AADB Lifer today!

Legislative and Advocacy Updates

Forum on 21st Century Technology for People with Disabilities

On May 1, 2008, Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) held a hearing on a proposed draft bill called the “Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.” This hearing was well attended by various major disability organizations, including the National Association of the Deaf and the American Council of the Blind. AADB was one of the organizations representing the deaf-blind community.

Several witnesses testified on behalf of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT). COAT is working to ensure that Internet-based communications products and services, video programming now distributed on television or the Internet, and other technology is accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

People testifying on behalf of COAT were Sergeant Major Jessie R. Acosta, who became totally blind while serving in Iraq; Mr. Jamaal Anderson of the Atlanta Falcons, who is also the son of Dr. Glenn Anderson, a well-known deaf educator; and Russell Harvard, a deaf actor who appeared in the movie “There Will Be Blood” and in several television shows. Other witnesses were Larry Goldberg, director of Media Access for WGBH; Dane Snowden, vice president of CTIA and a representative of the telecommunication industry; and Ken Nakata, director of Disability Initiatives and Government Compliance for BayFirst Solutions L.L.C.

Sergeant Major Acosta, Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Harvard testified about the problems they experienced when trying to access telecommunications technology. Mr. Anderson further mentioned the need for specialized technology for deaf-blind people, which is no longer available, or is unaffordable for most deaf-blind people. This bill calls for $10 million per year from the Universal Service Fund for the distribution of specialized equipment needed to provide telecommunications access for individuals who are deaf-blind. Both Mr. Harvard and Mr. Anderson mentioned the need for allowing eligible, low-income people with disabilities to apply their Lifeline and Linkup telephone subsidies to help pay for broadband Internet so they can use video phones and other Internet phone technology.

While the hearing focused on issues such as accessibility to cell phones, Internet services, and other technology for people with disabilities, the bill covers several other key components that are beneficial for people with disabilities.

For people who use hearing aids or cochlear implants, this bill will address the hearing compatibility issue for Internet-based telecommunications equipment. This bill also addresses the gaps for people who need closed captions for television programming on the Internet and on small devices such as iPods and cell phones, and for people who need video description for television programming.

For further information on COAT and this bill, please visit COAT’s website at: http://www.coataccess.org/node/55.

The American Foundation for the Blind also posted their positive comments, in support of our need for specialized telecommunication equipment and the congressional hearing in their blog at: http://www.afb.org/blog

The Hearing Loss Association of America also wrote an article about the hearing. This is posted on its website at http://www.hearingloss/org/advocacy/legislative.asp#qual.

Donation Opportunities


Like what you see? Consider making an online donation to AADB at our website, http://www.aadb.org. Or contact the AADB office.

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