Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Helen!

Every year the last week of June is devoted to one thing - recognition of people who are deafblind. While the purpose of Deaf-Blind Awareness Week is to pay homage to Helen Keller, the deafblind woman who was born this week, the week also focuses on increasing public awareness and understanding of deaf-blindness.

According to the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC), about 70,000 people have hearing and vision loss. More than a decade ago, Deaf-Blind Awareness Week became an event officially recognized by the Federal government, and it is celebrated annually by every state and many countries around the world.

People with deafblindness are as unique and different as people everywhere. Not every person with deafblindness is like Helen Keller, although some are. As most of my readers already know, my daughter, Ashley, is deafblind and our family is part of a statewide support group of other families whose lives have been touched by deafblindness. Here is a video of the children and their families who attended our last annual family retreat. The uniqueness of each child comes shining through!

Another organization that supports the deafblind in the UK is SENSE. They have developed an incredible website in support of deafblind awareness week, and I urge you to visit and enjoy the sensory experiences they have showcased. One of the best features of their new website is the section that shows videos that take the visitor into the world of people who are deafblind. One of my favorites is shown below, but there are also many other interesting videos.

I hope you will celebrate this week as we will – by getting back in touch with all your senses, and by learning to appreciate the beauty of everyone, regardless of their level of ability!

Happy Birthday, Helen!

No comments: