April Edition 2017

E-Newsletter of the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB)


Executive Board:

Jenée Alleman-Goodman, President

René Pellerin, Vice President

Christopher Woodfill, Secretary

Mark Gasaway, Treasurer

Board Members at Large:

Nicole Alleman

Ryan Bondroff

Mindy Dill

Sarah Goodwin

Tara Invidiato

April, 10th 2017

President’s Corner
By: Jenée Alleman-Goodman

I would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and Passover! For those who are not celebrating, I wish you a very Happy Spring! The media committee has agreed that we will do the newsletter bi-monthly. That way we will be able to share a lot more information rather than doing it monthly. We are working on transparency issues and our wish is to be as transparent as much as possible. We would like you all to see us in action and we are working on that. In the next few months, we will be focusing on media relations, which includes revamping the website, setting up a new AADB Facebook business page, and possibly creating a new logo. We will also be focusing on AADB finances and fundraising. Please know that if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to me or any one of the board of directors.

Again, Happy Spring!

Jenée Alleman-Goodman

Spotlight on the DeafBlind Community:

A tribute to Kerry Grant Wadman: An Exceptional DeafBlind Pioneer!

Kerry became deaf and blind at an early age. After learning sign language and braille in school in Halifax and New York, he moved to Toronto and became one of the first DeafBlind persons in Canada to graduate from a university. This gentleman worked as Program Manager and Assistant Coordinator of CNIB Deafblind Services. He embarked as President of the Canadian National Society of the Deaf Blind, and was involved in developing Rotary Cheshire Homes, the first apartment building for DeafBlind persons in Toronto. He also provided consulting to DeafBlind groups and agencies and was always advocating for the DeafBlind. This DeafBlind pioneer was well known among the DeafBlind community and carved a path for future DeafBlind leaders to accomplish great lengths. His only limitations were those that others and society imposed upon him. Kerry died on December 4, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and DeafBlind community.

Advocacy Committee:
By: René Pellerin:

As you may have heard the news about President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, (The Federal Government fiscal year is from October 1st to September 30). The budget has many cuts in almost all of the programs and agencies that serve the DeafBlind. It is important for you to know what is being cut. We are still learning each day what this means for us who are DeafBlind.

Below are a few examples to help you see what is being proposed:

– VR/DBVI $2 Billion cut – this will impact all of VR and DBVI programs across USA.
– Department of Education – 13.5 % cut in their budget.
– A huge cut at National Institute of Health which funds research on eye diseases.
– National Library Service and Bookshare – big cut in budget.
– Interpreter Training Programs
– HKNC will know more next month.

We are still learning about specific budgets. Trump’s administration will be submitting more detailed budget proposals in late April or May.

What you can do:

– Contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators if you disagree with the President’s budget proposal. You don’t need to write fancy language to Congress. Just say the budget proposal hurts you as a DeafBlind person. The more of you who contact Congress, the more they might be careful how they vote when the time comes. Next month we will continue to monitor the proposal and share any new information with you.

In meantime, send your concern to your representative. You can find your congressional representative and contact information by clicking the following link: Find Your Representative – Zip Code Lookup

The White House: For further reading, check out http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget.

From the National SSP Development Alliance (NSSPDA):

For both SSPs and DeafBlind Community Members:

Sending this as part of the newsletter! Please share this with others or DeafBlind community members can ask their favorite SSPs to take the survey. We are also working on another survey especially for the DeafBlind to take regarding the use and role of SSPs. We hope to get it out this summer.

See information below.

National SSP Survey on Curriculum & Training – Please Take Our Survey & Spread the Word!

This survey had a time frame of February 1, 2017 – April 1, 2017. The April 1, 2017 date has been extended to May 1. 2017 because of popularity. Please, also note there is a 1-week time limit of completing the survey. This means if you start the survey on Monday, April 10th you need to complete it by Monday April 17th to have complete results.

Hello, everyone!

We’ve been working on this survey for nearly a year, and we’re excited to finally be sending it out to all of you! The survey is now open for experienced SSPs, and here is the link:

National SSP Survey on Curriculum & Training

The National SSP Survey on Curriculum & Training is the product of a national SSP Task Force created by Ryan Bondroff, who asked us to work on a committee focused on a curriculum and certification process for SSPs. We thought that surveying experienced SSPs was the best way to find out the training, experiences, skills and knowledge that SSPs believe is necessary as they support DeafBlind individuals in leading independent and empowered lives.

The information we hope to get from the survey is an important first step in determining core competencies, standards and best practices essential to a national SSP training curriculum and, eventually, a national SSP certification. Another goal of the survey is to start building a National SSP Database.

The original Task Force started by Mr. Bondroff has been disbanded, but our work goes on! We are now known as the National SSP Development Alliance (NSSPDA). Some of our members are the same, and some new folks have joined us, as well.

We hope that you’ll share this survey with all your favorite and experienced SSPs. Please send it far and wide! We hope that all the SSPs taking the survey find it well done and filled with thoughtful questions. We will soon be creating a second survey that will focus on the training needs for DeafBlind individuals in using SSPs.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have problems taking the survey.

This survey had a time frame of February 1, 2017 – April 1, 2017. The April 1, 2017 date has been extended to May 1. 2017 because of popularity. Please also, note there is a 1-week time limit of completing the survey. This means if you start the survey on Monday, April 10th you need to complete it by Monday April 17th to have complete results.

Here’s the link again:

National SSP Survey on Curriculum & Training

Thank you all and happy surveying!!
Mark Gasaway, Chair Katherine Gabry, Vice Chair
(Georgia) (New Jersey)
National SSP Development Alliance – Certification Team
(Formerly the National SSP Task Force – Curriculum & Certification Committee)

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