Advocating and supporting services for Deafblind individuals in Massachusetts
Deafblind Awareness Day was held on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at the Massachusetts State House. Individuals who are Deafblind, family members, advocates, service providers and friends convened in the Great Hall to bring awareness to lawmakers about Deafblind supports needed and the importance of investing in those services.
Deafblindness is a combination of vision and hearing loss. It can be represented in varying degrees in different individuals but often results in challenges in communication, education, and independence. Unique educational programs and community supports are critical to providing opportunities for children and adults who are Deafblind so they can be successful in all areas of life, including employment, communication and access to information and services.
Key agencies serving persons who are Deafblind were on exhibit, including:
- Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)
- Helen Keller National Center
- New England Consortium for Deafblind
- Deafblind Community Access Network (DBCAN)
In all, it was a very successful event! Presenters shared their stories and highlighted the vital impact that services have had on their lives. Mitch Sanborn, Director of the Deafblind Multi-handicapped Unit (DBMH) at MCB, received an award in “Recognition for Providing Quality Services for Individuals Who Are Deafblind in MA.”
The Massachusetts Deaf Blind/Multi-Handicapped unit provides services to consumers who are deaf blind and or legally blind with cognitive issues, via counselors who are skilled in the basic use of American Sign Language (ASL) and or a variety of alternate communication methods. Services include:
- vocational, prevocational
- social day programs
- adaptive equipment
- low vision aides
- flex funding
- residential placement
- transition from school to living in the community
- and more!
The unit’s goal is to enhance each consumer’s independence and overall quality of life. For more information or to learn how access these services, call (TTD) to 1-800-392-6556 or email Mitch Sanborn at Mitch.Sanborn@State.MA.US.
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