American Association of the Deaf-Blind

March 2010

AADB Conference

Hear ye! Hear ye! AADB is very pleased to announce that the 28th 2011 AADB national symposium, "The Future is in Our Hands", will be held on June 19th to 23rd, 2011 at Drawbridge Inn in Ft. Mitchell, KY, just across the river from Cincinnati, OH. There will be a formal training for support service providers (SSPs) for one and a half days before the symposium starts. The symposium will be chock-full of activities for deaf-blind participants: workshops, exhibits, networking opportunities, special interest group meetings, and more! Please watch for updates in future AADB Today e-newsletters when symposium information is made available on our website in the coming months. Special thanks to AADB's ad-hoc committee members for their help to find the Drawbridge Inn for our next symposium. (Ad-hoc committee members are Mark Gasaway, Chair, Dan Arabie, Anindya (Bapin) Bhattacharyya, Jeffrey Bohrman, Jill Gaus, Mary Hale, Timothy Jackson, Lynn Jansen, Maricar Marquez, Paul Molloy, and Randy Pope.) We look forward to seeing everyone there!

SSP Language

Itís that time of year again, and we need your help!

We are asking you once again to call your representatives in Congress to recognize the concept of support service providers (SSPs) as a needed service for the deaf-blind community. This request is part of an ongoing effort to educate Congress on what SSPs are and why they are so important to deaf-blind people around the country. Read on for more details.

The House of Representatives is now considering what requests to include in their various Appropriations Committees. The language defining SSPs and what they do needs to be re-introduced into the Senate and House of Representativesí Appropriations Committees.

The deadline for the House of Representatives Appropriations Committees is March 19. The deadline for the Senate is not known at this time, but we suggest that you contact your Senators too.

The language is:

"The Committee asks that the Department of Labor (or Dept of Health and Human Services) to support the efforts of Support Service Providers (SSPs). SSPs relay visual and environmental information, act as sighted guides and facilitate communication for people who are deaf-blind, using the deaf-blind person's preferred language and communication mode. SSPs enable deaf-blind persons to access their communities and connect with other people, reducing communication barriers that otherwise would result in social isolation, incapability to live independently, and inability to participate as citizens within mainstream society."

This language is the first step of a long process towards recognizing SSPs nationwide as a profession and to provide this needed service for deaf-blind people around the country. We want to introduce the language to different Appropriations Committees, including the Departments of Labor, Health and Education.

The time is short! Please email or call your representatives and senators today to ask them to include the language in the Appropriations subcommittees. You can find your representatives by clicking on You can find your senators by clicking on Once again, the deadline for sending requests to the House of Representatives Appropriations Committees is March 19.

If you or your legislators need more information or assistance, please contact Elizabeth Spiers at

New! SSP Resources

Looking for something on SSPs to give your legislator? Want to know whatís happening with SSP programs around the country? We have the answers!

AADB has some new SSP resources available on our website that you all can use while contacting your legislators. One is a survey of 10 SSP programs around the country which AADB did in January 2009. This survey describes how each program is run, how they use their SSPs, and common issues and challenges faced by each program. Another is a link to our SSP White Paper, which defines the roles and responsibilities of SSPs. For more information please visit

Be sure to visit our SSP pages often as information will be updated frequently.

Past Issues of AADB Today

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8630 Fenton Street, Suite 121
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

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