American Association of the Deaf-Blind

August 2009

In This Issue:

AADB In Action

Presentations and Advocacy

  • Indiana Deaf-Blind Retreat
  • Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference
  • Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TDI) Conference
  • SSP Legislative Language
  • Special Deaf-Blind American Issue
  • Resources

    AADB In Action

    Press Release: From AADB Board of Directors

    Mark Gasaway

    Mark Gasaway
    Ad Hoc Committee Chair

    AADB 2011 Symposium

    The AADB Board of Directors, with Ad-Hoc Committee Chair Mark Gasaway, would like to take this opportunity to announce that the full board is forging ahead for an AADB Symposium (Conference) in the year 2011.

    Please note we are changing the event from “Conference” to “Symposium” in an effort to reach out to many potential donors and sponsors for fundraising purposes.

    With this commitment, we further comment that we will make every effort to do everything possible to hold an AADB Symposium (Conference) in 2011.

    The Ad-Hoc Committee is working hard on this very important event. Please be aware that progress reports will appear in future issues of the AADB Today with a final report when plans are finalized.

    New! AADB Treasurer Selected

    Mike Reese - Treasurer

    Mike Reese -- AADB Treasurer

    President Dan Arabie and Vice President Tim Jackson are proud to announce that Mike Reese, who is deaf-blind and is from Michigan, has been appointed Treasurer for the AADB Board of Directors. Welcome aboard, Mike!

    Mr. Arabie and Mr. Jackson are still looking for someone to serve as Secretary for the Board of Directors. That announcement will come shortly.

    Presentations and Advocacy

    Indiana Deaf-Blind Retreat

    Board member Jill Gaus and Executive Director Jamie Pope co-presented at a workshop on empowerment and leadership to members of the Indiana Deaf-Blind Association last month. The purpose of this workshop was to encourage and train members how to support one another and keep their state organization strong.

    Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference

    Executive Director Jamie Pope attended the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference to network on behalf of AADB.

    She co-presented on "Achieving Cultural Competence: Interpreters working with Deaf-Blind People" at the Deaf-Blind Member Section event. She also was a panelist during the "Reaching Thru the Lens: VRS Interpreting for Callers with Vision Loss" workshop. Both events were well received.

    Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TDI) Conference

    Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., had its biannual conference in July 2009, and AADB played a very active role.

    First, President Dan Arabie wrote a letter for the program books used during the conference, in which he welcomed TDI conference participants, expressed his support for TDI, and mentioned how AADB and TDI have been collaborating together. Some of the issues he discussed were:

    • the need for communication facilitators for deaf-blind users to access video relay services, and
    • the 21st Century Telecommunications and Video Accessibility Bill, which would, among other things, allocate funding for deaf-blind people to get telecommunications equipment.

    You can read the letter in PDF, MS Word or Plain Text. If you have trouble accessing our website, please contact the AADB Office for assistance.

    Second, AADB staff participated in two panel discussions during the conference: one on video accessibility, and another on air access. Highlights of each panel are as follows:

    21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Panel

    Randall Pope, AADB Web Administrator and Public Relations Specialist, served on a panel focusing on the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009. This bill, among other things, is asking for $10,000,000 to help deaf-blind people buy technology equipment under the Universal Service Fund.

    Mr. Pope discussed:

    • the high cost of purchasing much needed accessible technology; for example, telecommunication equipment for deaf-blind people can range from $5,000 to $9,000, placing equipment out of reach of many deaf-blind people;
    • making sure emergency information is accessible to deaf-blind people, especially in emergency situations; and
    • ensuring that much needed information in other areas is accessible for deaf-blind people, especially as available technology is frequently not accessible for them.

    For more information about this bill, please visit the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology website at

    Air Access Panel

    Elizabeth Spiers, Director of Information Services, participated on a consumer panel that focused on airline access issues. She suggested that:

    • the new airline access policies, which started in May 2009, be revised to include that deaf-blind passengers and airline staff establish effective methods of communication so that deaf-blind passengers get information at the same time as other passengers; and
    • airline staff be trained further in working with deaf-blind passengers and be available to assist them as needed (for example, have airline staff accompany deaf-blind passengers and hand them off to the next airline staff as they catch their planes).

    SSP Legislative Language

    AADB staff have been busy on Capital Hill as well. Ms. Spiers visited staffers in the offices of Senator Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Hoyer (D-MD) in July to educate them about the needs for support service providers in the deaf-blind community and encourage them to support and recognize SSPs as a needed service.

    Special Deaf-Blind American Issue

    2009 Deaf-Blind American Cover

    The Summer 2009 issue of The Deaf-Blind American is hot off the press! This special issue focuses on deaf-blind teens and young adults.

    Become a member of AADB now for only $10 and receive this magazine. It’s easy to do. Just go to our membership section of our website and click on the Membership link to print out and send us a membership form.

    Or if you just want the magazine, you can purchase it for only $5, with $3 shipping and handling. Please contact the AADB office for assistance.


    Update on DTV Transition Assistance

    The Communication Service for the Deaf’s DTV Help Center ended its services on July 31st. However, the Federal Communications Center has a DTV call center for any questions about digital televisions, including converter boxes, antennas, signal loss, captioning and other issues. People can call 1-800-CALLFCC.

    Past Issues of AADB Today

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Like what you see? Consider making an online donation to AADB at our website, or contact AADB at:

8630 Fenton Street, Suite 121
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

301-495-4402 TTY/VP; 301-495-4403 Voice
301-495-4404 Fax