Deafblind Awareness Week is a great opportunity to raise public awareness about issues facing people who live with deafblindness.
About 23,000 people in the UK are deafblind, but these figures do not take into account the large number of elderly people who are losing both their sight and hearing. The number of people with a combined sight and hearing loss could therefore be as high as 250,000.
Deafblindness is a visual and hearing impairment. These impairments can be of any type or degree and are sometimes called multi-sensory impairments (MSI). There are many different causes of MSI. Most people who are multi-sensory impaired have some useful vision and/or hearing.
Deafblind Awareness Week always takes place on the week of Helen Keller’s birthday. Although born with sight and hearing on June 27th 1880, following an illness in 1882 she became deafblind. Helen was probably the most famous and influential deafblind person to have lived.
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The celebration of Deafblind Awareness Week is vital for a number of reasons. It provides many great opportunities to:
- bring together old friends and make new ones while having fun!
- celebrate the achievements of people within the deafblind community
- introduce the general public, community groups and corporate bodies to issues facing people living with deafblindness
- raise the public profile of deafblindness, which will in the long term assist with issues of resourcing and securing funds for services
- promote the range of services available
- educate the general community about deafblindness
Deafblind UK is currently assisting thousands of deafblind or dual sensory impaired people throughout the country to cope with their disability and to lead as fulfilled and independent lives as possible. The charity offers comprehensive services to deafblind people, their support assistants and other professionals. These include training in communication and rehabilitation skills, a free 24 hour helpline, a regional network of staff and volunteers, a varied leisure programme and a range of publications in different reading formats.
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