General Information on Deaf-Blindness

by DB-LINK on May 1, 2009
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AT THEIR FINGERTIPS-- TV Sea: 18 minutes. A video portraying the views of people who live with Usher Syndrome. It describes the difficulties and adjustment associated with becoming blind while deaf. Four people are interviewed and tell (with the assistance of interpreters) what life is like for them.


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR DEAFBLIND CUSTOMERS-- Sense: 3. This article describes who deafblind people are, how to tell if someone is deafblind, and how to communicate with someone who is deafblind. Describes various methods of communication including fingerspelling and using the phone. Provides information on how to assist someone who is deafblind to get around in the community and how to ensure they are safe and healthy. Publisher's web site: This document is available on the web at:


DEAF-BLIND COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNITY: Getting Involved - A Conversation, Smith, Theresa. 1993. This ninety-minute tape offers two presentations of a forty-five minute conversation with Pat Cave and Janice Adams, two Deaf-Blind individuals. Moderated by Theresa Smith, this tape presents a discussion of topics such as general perceptions and experiences of deaf-blind adults and their communication frustration and needs. In addition, the two interpreters, one who is deaf and the other who is hearing, share some of their experiences and perceptions. The first portion of this tape is a full-screen, edited version of the conversation. The second portion uses special digital effects to present all five individuals on screen at the same time. Available from Sign Media Inc. for $59.95 ($98.95 when purchased as part of a set of 2 tapes). Phone: (800) 475-4756. Publisher's web site:


DEAF-BLIND COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNITY: Overview and Introduction, Smith, Theresa. 1993. This is a forty-minute open-captioned tape that features Theresa Smith discussing a number of topics that provide a glimpse into the multi-faceted Deaf-Blind community. Among topics discussed are a definition and description of the community, individual communicative differences and preferences, becoming involved in the community, and setting limits. This tape also makes use of video footage to illustrate guiding and communication preferences. Available from Sign Media Inc. for $49.95 ($98.95 when purchased as part of a set of 2 tapes). Phone: (800) 475-4756. Publisher's web site:


DEAF/BLINDNESS: Essential Information for Families, Professionals, & Students --Florence, Isabell, C.B.S.W., MA.RT. Ann Arbor, MI: Robbie Dean Press. (1993) This book provides a practical introduction to deaf-blindness. It describes the conditions affecting vision and hearing with examples that can help the reader gain perspective on what a person with that condition might see or hear. It goes on to explain communication methods used by people who are deaf-blind, and adaptations to the home and work environments. It also offers a section on appropriate etiquette. The author herself is Deaf-Blind and holds a bachelor’s degree in social work, and a master’s degree in rehabilitation training. 96 pages. Publisher’s website:


FUNCTIONAL IMPLICATIONS & ENVIRONMENTAL MODIFICATIONS WITH STUDENTS WHO HAVE USHER SYNDROME, Jordan, Beth. 2000, 6. This is a list of tips for teachers, interpreters, students with deafblindness, family members, classmates, and members of the community to take into consideration in their relationships with deafblind people. Environmental tips for the classroom, lighting, and reading are included as well. Also available in electronic format.


GUIDELINES: Practical Tips for Working and Socializing with Deaf-Blind People, Smith, Theresa B. -- Sign Media, Inc: 2002, 288. This second edition of Guidelines includes expanded chapters on topics such as tactile sign language, interpreting, conversation and physical environment. New information and more examples are included. Three new chapters include: Support Service Providers; Authority, Power and Control; and Meetings. The book is intended for people who know Sign Language, who are already experienced in "deafness" and in interacting with Deaf people, and who want to know more about "deaf-blindness" and interpreting for Deaf-Blind people. Professional interpreters, student interpreters, and anyone who wants to communicate and/or work more effectively with Deaf-Blind people will benefit from reading this book. May be ordered from Sign Media, Inc., 4020 Blackburn Lane, Burtonsville, MD 20866. Phone: (800) 475-4756. Cost: $24.95 Publisher's web site:


INDEPENDENCE WITHOUT SIGHT OR SOUND: Suggestions for Practitioners Working with Deaf-Blind Adults, Sauerburger, Dona. -- American Foundation for the Blind: 1993, 194. This book was written to help service providers in working with persons who are deaf-blind. There are numerous examples from actual experience and discussions of practical applications. Sections on service needs, communication, orientation and mobility, sensory deprivation and a survey of dog guide schools. Available from: AFB Press, Customer Service, P.O. Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143. Phone: 800-232-3044. Fax: 412-741-0609. Cost: $39.95. Specify print or Braille.


MIND OVER MATTER: Coping with Disability, Ulrich, Nancy. / Helen Keller National Center. -- Helen Keller National Center: no date, 28 min. Roberta Fanicelli interviews Winnie Tunnison about what it is like to be a deaf adult who then loses her sight. Patricia Capone acts as interpreter for Winnie who signs her responses to Fanicelli's questions. Winnie discusses her emotional and intellectual responses to the realization that she was indeed going blind, including her hospitalization and treatment for depression. Ilene Miner represents the Helen Keller National Center and talks about what the program offers adults who are deaf-blind and the emotional impact often felt by those adults who find they are losing both sight and hearing. Open captioned. HKNC, 111 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, NY 11050-1299, (516) 944-8900.


THE MIND TRAVELLER: The Ragin' Cajun, Sacks, Oliver. -- BBC Worldwide Americas, Inc. 1998, 50 min. This video takes a look at Usher Syndrome through the experiences of Danny Delcambre, a deaf-blind restaurant owner in Seattle, Washington. Neurologist/author Oliver Sacks explores the nature of deaf-blind culture, American Sign Language, and tactile signing with several deaf-blind adults in both Louisiana and Washington. This is available for loan or videostreaming via the Described and Captioned Media Program ( Requires membership in DCMP, which is free to qualified applicants.


THE ONLY WAY SIGNING CAN KILL US, Clark, John Lee. 2006, 1. This article is a poem written by a person who is deafblind reflecting on sign language. This document is available on the web at: FUTURE REFLECTIONS, Summer 2006, Vol. 25, #2, p. 11.


TOUCHING LIVES: Portraits of Deaf-Blind People, Gordon, Myles; Hajjar, Susan. -- Navada Productions: 2002, 56:30. This video is a documentary by a deaf-blind interpreter. Susan Hajjar, grew up with three siblings who are deaf-blind and tells the story of how their influence affected her life. The video features Jamie Lard, a deaf-blind woman who advocates on behalf of deafblind people. Jamie describes her upbringing including her time as a student at Perkins School for the Blind, and now as an adult living independently. It also features Harry Anderson, president of the American Association of Deafblind (AADB), and Ona Stewart, a deaf-blind woman with Usher syndrome who lives and works independently in a large city. Barbara Stein, who is orally trained and uses fingerspelling, is a software engineer who is unemployed at the time of the taping. She describes the difficulties she faces in gaining employment especially in a declining labor market of information technology. Describes how many people with deafblindness face isolation and loneliness. Other profiles include Chuck Ferraro, and the Tracy family. A transcript of the video is also available.


USING INTERPRETERS WITH DEAF-BLIND CLIENTS: What Professional Service Providers Should Know, Bourquin, Eugene A. 1996, 6. This article provides recommendations for using interpreters with deaf-blind clients. It describes the importance of using professional interpreters and not accepting an unqualified "signer" with good intentions. The communication process suffers without professional interpreters. RE:VIEW, Vol. XXVII, #4, Winter 1996, pp.149-154


VICTORY, MEASURED BY THE HEART, Hane, John. 1999, 4. An article highlighting the successful efforts of a woman with Usher Syndrome completing a triathlon with the assistance of a support team of interpreters and guides. Describes Maricar Marquez's experiences as a woman who is deaf-blind and her will to do many things including rock climbing, exploring caves, skydiving, and triathlon. DEAF-BLIND AMERICAN, vol. 37, #3, April-June 1999, pp. 11- 14.


WORDS IN MY HANDS: A Teacher, a Deaf-Blind Man, an Unforgettable Journey, Chambers, Diane. -- Ellexa Press LLC: 2004, 263. After his wife died when he was 86, Bert Reidel, a man with Usher Syndrome, moved to Colorado to live with his son and daughter-in-law. Although Bert was an expert Braille reader, he had never learned sign language and his wife had been his “eyes and ears” to the world. This book tells the story of Bert’s life and how he learned sign language beginning at age 86. It illustrates that it is never too late to learn as it describes how sign language transformed not only Bert’s life, but the lives of his family, friends, and the interpreter who was his sign language teacher. Cost $15.95. Available from Ellexa Press LLC, 32262 Steven Way, Conifer, CO 80433. Fax: 303- 838-7010. E-mail: This document is available on the web at: 

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