Family and Friends

The Family and Friends Campaign is now moving full steam ahead to raise $30,000.

AADB is working to increase awareness of deaf-blind people and their needs. With your support, AADB can advocate for accessible technology, support service providers (SSPs) and other services that will enable deaf-blind people to lead independent, productive lives.

What a difference your support can make! Please make a donation to AADB today. Also, tell your friends and family about AADB and encourage them to do the same thing. You can visit our website at for more information on what AADB is doing and to make a donation, or contact the AADB Office for a donation form. Thank you for your support.

Intern at AADB

Welcome to Mansur Ferrell, who is interning with us this summer. Mansur, who is deaf-blind, has been helping us with our information technology needs: fixing defective computer programs and hard drives, installing new operating systems and programs, and designing a database for staff use. He is a student at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology. Mansur is now majoring in Applied Computer Technology with an emphasis on Information Technology. He will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Applied Computer Technology in the spring of 2009. Afterwards, he plans to complete a Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development, also at NTID/RIT. We are delighted to have Mansur with us to keep us up to date with and connected to the information highway.

AADB In Action

OSEP Deaf-Blind Portfolio Workgroup

The Deaf-Blind Portfolio Workgroup of Office of Special Education Programs, (OSEP) a component of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education invited AADB’s Jamie Pope and Elizabeth Spiers to meet with them to create and strengthen linkages with AADB and other stakeholders in the Deaf-Blind community on May 21, 2008.

OSEP shared information about IDEA 2004 requirements for $12.84 million to be allocated annually to fund projects to improve services and results for infants, toddlers, children and youth who are deaf-blind. $9.5 million of this allocation is used to support the State Technical Assistance Projects to Improve Services and Results who are Deaf-Blind FY 08 grant competition. OSEP estimated that 54 awards would be made for States and territories.

Topics discussed in the meeting included AADB programs and services, acquiring skills for self-determination, and intervener services for young children. AADB was also invited to attend the July 24, 2008 OSEP Deaf-Blind State Project Directors’ Meeting to learn more about how this national network of State projects operate and to share information about AADB with Project Personnel. In addition to AADB, the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind will participate in this meeting.

Described and Captioned Media Project

AADB recently participated in the advisory board of the Described and Captioned Media Project, a grant project under the National Association of the Deaf. AADB gave feedback on the progress of the project on behalf of children and youth who have dual hearing and vision loss. AADB discussed the importance of captioning descriptions for low vision deaf children who would miss visual clues in the video due to limited vision, making sure captions are shown clearly with a high contrast background, and the importance of clear voicing of descriptions for hard of hearing blind children. We thank DCMP for considering the needs of children and youth with dual hearing and vision loss to access educational media. For more information on the project, go to

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Task Force on Estate/Residential Planning for the Elderly Deaf

By Dawn K. Watts

Deaf Seniors of America (DSA) is a membership organization that was established after its first conference in 1992. Members must be aged 50 years or older. Alan Ander chairs a task force on Estate/Residential Planning for the Elderly Deaf. One of the purposes of this task force is to ensure that seniors live in accessible nursing homes, assisted living centers and other residential facilities. Mr. Ander has appointed me to work with members of this task force as a specialist for deaf-blind and low vision people. I am going to research services for deaf-blind or low-vision people who live in nursing homes as I wish to discover ways to improve and provide better services for them.

I was selected because of my experience with my beloved deaf mother, and my career as an interpreter who works with deaf-blind people. About 3 years ago, my deaf mother died from hypotension (stroke/coma) at the age of 80; she struggled with her vision for years. I have seen several deaf-blind people in nursing home where they struggled with staff’s lack of understanding of their deaf or deaf-blind culture.

The research I am doing is particularly important because all of us experience some degree of vision loss as we get older. For example, the Bureau of the Census found in 1994 and 1995 that five million elderly individuals not residing in nursing homes reported a visual impairment in 1994 and 1995. In 1997, the National Center for Health reported that about 26% of all nursing home residents, approximately 420,300 individuals, had some level of visual impairment.

If you have any deaf-blind friends or family members who are living in a nursing home, please contact me at I would like to interview your friends or family members, and the staff working with them for my research. You can also find out more about the task force on the web at An article about the task force from DSA newsletter is posted there.

Editor’s Note: Dawn Watts is a deaf interpreter who works out of Columbus, Ohio. She has served as an SSP at several AADB conferences.

The Courage Deaf-Blind Camp 2008

The Courage Deaf-Blind Camp 2008, which was announced in the June 27 AADB Today, and is scheduled for September 21 to 27, 2008 has been canceled. For more information, contact Michael Walton at

In this Issue:
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AADB in Action
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