The annual awareness week devoted to the deaf and blind known as Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, will be held at the end of June and beginning of July. Helen Keller became famous in the 1880s for being born both deaf and blind and not letting her conditions stop her from becoming an educator for the deaf and blind, while also, co-founding the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Loss of vision and hearing loss can happen gradually; therefore, diagnosing deaf-blindness at an early age is vital for implementing early intervention strategies.
This year the theme for the week is “Deaf-Blind Employees Can Help Businesses Grow with Unique Insights and Perspectives. TrailBlazer, BigThinker, GoGetter, DeafBlind” The mission is to help educate communities about deaf-blindness and misconceptions about people that are deaf-blind, especially in the workforce. This week also brings awareness to treatment advances, technology, and coping strategies. Treatment options for deaf-blindness include:
- Hearing aids
- Assistive listening devices
- Cochlear implants
- High-dose vitamin A
Additionally, learning alternative methods of communication such as American Sign Language and Braille can help with the quality of life.
The most common misconception regarding deaf-blindness is that many people are not completely deaf and or blind. There’s a range of deafness and blindness and most people have some hearing and or vision. Also, people living with deaf and blindness are very capable and able to be highly efficient employees. Studies show that workplaces that employ people with disabilities experience an average of 28% higher revenue and 30% greater economic profit.