Reflections from the DVIDB Board
DeafBlind International’s Network of the Americas Conference
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
April 15-18, 2018
Amy Parker, DVIDB President, 2018-2019
*Amy is the Coordinator of an Orientation and Mobility Program at Portland State University. She attended DBI as a partner with the American Printing House for the Blind to share a product developed with the DB community, the DeafBlind Pocket Communicator.
Amy: “There is a reason that DVIDB has an emphasis on educators of the deafblind, as well as individuals and family members who are deafblind. Deafblindness is a unique disability that is recognized nationally and internationally in laws, regulations and services. DVIDB has long recognized the unique difference in access and learning styles of students who are deafblind. We embrace it as a part of our focus and mission within the Council for Exceptional Children. At the recent DBI conference, we honored the work of Dr. Jan van Dijk as a significant contributor and leader in our field but we also looked ahead together on what still must be created to provide recognition, supports and services for students with deafblindness. I was proud to attend with 3 of our DVIDB board members and to learn from leaders from around the globe at DBI.”
Angel Perez, DVIDB Board of Directors, 2018-2019
*Angel is the Director of the New Jersey Center for Deaf-Blindness. She represented her project at the DB Summit Day and attended DBI as a Director for her project and a member of the DVIDB Board.
Angel: “For those of you who were unable to make it to the Deafblind International Conference, you truly missed a real treat. This year's conference was held in Cape Cod, Mass. and sponsored by Perkins School for the Blind. There were more than 400 people in attendance and as many as 26 countries were represented. We enjoyed 3 1/2 days of amazing topics presented by the best in the field. Topics such as "DeafBlind Pocket Communicator: No-Tech Innovation Using 3-D Printing" and "What’s So “Unique” About the Unique Learning System?" were discussed and Keynote speakers such as George Stern and Maurice Belote delivered very inspiring messages of hope and truth. Lastly and most heartwarming was a beautiful tribute to the late Dr. Jan van Dijk was given for his incredible work in the field and dedication to children with deaf-blindness for more than 50 years. It was truly a blessing to be a part of this sensational conference with so many friends and the opportunity to make many more. We also congratulate Cathy Lyle of Minnesota for her prestigious Anne Sullivan Medal. What an inspiring and humbling experience.”
Adam Graves, DVIDB Board of Directors, 2017-2018
*Adam is a Deafblind Educational Consultant at the Texas Deafblind Outreach Project housed at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Adam is also a PhD student at Texas Tech University with an emphasis in deafblindness. Adam presented the development of a functional hearing instrument at DBI.
Adam: “I don't know that I have ever experienced a conference with the level of joy, enthusiasm and hope as the DBI Network of the Americas. There was the joy of reuniting with old friends and meeting new colleagues. There was the enthusiasm living and working together with individuals who are DeafBlind in a world with a more inclusive state of mind. And there was the hope that so many people working so hard in so many different parts of the world are actually creating the inclusive minded world that so many presenters at the conference spoke about. As a member of the board of directors for DVIDB, I was filled with a sense of pride to see so many members of our organization attending and contributing so much of the content for the DBI Network of the Americas. It was a touching reminder of what an important role DVIDB plays in creating that inclusive, joyful, hopeful world that our students and their families deserve.”
Lane McKittrick, DVIDB Treasurer
*Lane is the mother of four children, two of whom have Usher Syndrome, a leading cause of deafblindness. Lane is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Northern Colorado in deafblindness. She presented two research projects at DBI, contributing to topics on parent and educator partnerships and self-determination.
Lane: “Last week I attended the DBI Network of the Americas conference, both as a parent leader and speaker. I left the meeting extremely motivated: motivated by the energy that was generated by having so many leaders in the field in the same room and driven by all the exciting research in the field. There were so many exciting and relevant sessions. The sessions were well attended, and the conversations that happened during the breakout sessions were productive. I learned so much about deafblindness, but mostly, I appreciated the networking opportunity. There were people in the room that I had only met via email or that I had not seen for years.”