Deafblind Awareness Week 2017

  • Multi sensory photography by blind and visually impaired people | Image: Enable Magazine

The Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC), a division of Helen Keller Services (HKS), is proud to once again mark Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, which runs from June 25th until July 1st, with a national advocacy campaign.

It was announced by HKNC Executive Director Susan Ruzenski: “In the 50 years since HKNC was founded, communication technology has evolved dramatically and rapidly, but the culture of touch remains a pivotal value and way of life among people in the deaf-blind community. In a world focused on the digital, this year’s campaign theme, The Power of Touch, reminds us all of the importance of the tactile and the tangible.”

HKS President and CEO Joseph F. Bruno stated: “HKNC’s 50th Anniversary is the perfect time to shine a light on the self-empowered deaf-blind community and its engagement with others through touch. Adding touch signals to traditional Tactile American Sign Language (TASL) greatly expands how a deaf-blind individual experiences the world.

“While TASL continues to serve as the predominant sign language of deaf-blind individuals in the United States, recent years have seen an overwhelming embrace of touch signals — visual, social and environmental feedback given in real-time through touch on the body. Greyhealth Group (GHG) has generously created the Deaf-Blind Awareness Week posters, pro bono, for almost 30 years. The agency’s 2017 poster reminds us that with all the new devices and adaptive equipment available, members of the deaf-blind community still recognize that there is a time and a place for technology and a time and place to put it down and connect through The Power of Touch. To help advance the rights of deaf-blind individuals, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation in 1984 designating the last week of June as Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week.”