Imagine being in a world where you can neither see or hear – how would you communicate with family and friends, how would you make friends, how would you go to a restaurant, how would you go shopping?
The last week of June is Deafblind International Awareness week. The week from June 20-27 is devoted to the life of individuals who are deafblind and celebrate the birthday of a well known lady with deafblindness named Helen Keller who was born on the 27th of June.
It is the time when deafblind people, their families and supporters organise celebrations, hold events and raise community awareness on the challenges of being deafblind.
Anne Sullivan, the teacher who enabled Helen Keller to communicate, motivated her students with this principle, “Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose.” As Anne Sullivan put this principle into practice, she changed perceptions of, and expectations for, the deafblind, opening opportunities and doors which had previously been closed to them.
These students certainly have added challenges. But as Anne and Helen proved, they are nothing that can’t be compensated for and overcome. Teachers of the deafblind need to see the challenges ahead, and then help their students overcome them.
During Deafblind Awareness Week we encourage you to think about friends and relatives who might be affected by sight and hearing loss and talk to them about it; try to understand what they are going through and learn what you can do to help.
Perkins Voice & Vision