The Virginia Association of the DeafBlind, Inc. (VADB) is a statewide, nonprofit, charitable organization that is an advocacy group for deafblind Virginians. The mission of the organization is to ensure that all individuals who are deafblind achieve their maximum potentials through increased independence, productivity, and integration into the community.
VADB strives to promote public awareness and understanding of the needs and challenges of those who are deafblind. Our members participate in conferences and seminars, and they serve on State committees and advisory councils to help fight for causes of interest to deafblind people.
It is estimated that over 16,000 people in Virginia have a combined loss of vision and hearing. While some individuals are totally blind and profoundly deaf, others may be low vision and hard of hearing. The term “deafblind” is an umbrella term for a wide variety of combined hearing and vision losses.
Communication can be a big challenge for a person with hearing and vision loss. Communication can be by a variety of methods. Not all deafblind people communicate the same way. Many require individual attention to ensure effective communication. This may require a one-on-one interpreter, which is quite costly. Some deafblind individuals can understand speech well enough to use an audio-loop. Others may need close-vision interpreters, and some may need tactile or “hand-over-hand” interpreters.
In addition to the need for qualified interpreters, many deafblind individuals require the services of a Support Service Provider (SSP). An SSP is a person who acts as a sighted guide using appropriate communication techniques. The SSP must be able to convey visual information in an effective manner, as well as orient a deafblind individual to a new environment.
As VADB strives to educate the public about the challenges faced by deafblind people, we will continue to be active in our local areas.