Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week
In 1984, a Presidential Proclamation issued by Ronald Reagan designated the last week of June as Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week. Each year since this momentous event, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) celebrates the week awareness and advocacy campaign in a national scale, which recognizes the achievements and capabilities of deaf-blind individuals.
This year, Helen-Keller-Deaf-Blind Awareness week will be commemorated on the 24th to 30th of June, with the theme: “Helen Keller Day and Deaf-blind Awareness Week”. It was officially celebrated on 27th of June, the anniversary of Helen Keller’s birth. In today’s digital era, HKNC has been encouraging and working with deaf-blind individuals to stay connected to their family, friends and peers through the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program.
This program assures that qualified individuals with a combined vision loss and hearing loss are provided with user-friendly and accessible telecommunications devices for free, which also come with free training on how to use them. It is a way of saying that deafness and blindness are not hindrance to social interaction and coping with digital trends.
A Brief Bio of Helen Keller
Helen Adams Keller was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She lost her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months to a disease now believed to have been scarlet fever. Anne Sullivan, an educator at Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, had greatly influenced Helen Keller’s academic and personal life. Sullivan taught Keller how to read and write in Braille and to use hand signals of the deaf-mute, which helped Keller to communicate with the world around her.
Soon, Helen Keller made impactful public appearances and has become one of the most sought-after fund-raisers and organizers of advocacies and public services to the handicapped. She has become a political activist, a crusader for the handicapped, lecturer and a notable American author. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor’ degree in Arts and wrote 12 published books, which most of them became worldwide best-sellers. Helen was probably the most influential deaf-blind person to have lived.
Objectives of Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week
This important event is a great opportunity to drive huge public awareness of the issues that deaf-blind individual’s face each day and how to help them communicate with the world, as well as live a happy life. As deafblindedness is a visual and hearing impairment, people born with it or suffered from it due to an illness, have special needs that many people are not aware of or do not fully understand.
Significance of Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week
The commemoration of this event also provides great opportunities to:
- Educate the Public about Deaf Blindness
- Recognize the achievements of people within the deaf-blind community
- Bring together the deaf-blind community and make new friends
- Raise awareness to the public, community groups and corporate entities on the issues people living with deaf blindness experience in their day-to-day lives
- Carry out media releases and digital campaigns that can help assist securing funds for public services centered to the handicapped
- Promote a range of services offered by the deaf-blind community
Message on the Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week
We are probably aware the deaf-blind individuals walk among us in the streets or eat in the same restaurant with us or share the same building with us at work. However, it’s not enough to just be aware and sympathize with their condition. Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week encourages people to recognize the deaf-blind community and understand better what they are going through every single day. It encourages us to take action in helping deaf-blind individuals through any assistance that we can give them, whether it be financial or voluntary work. These deaf-blind or dual sensory impaired people need assistance to cope with their disabilities and like everyone else, they too want to live fulfill and independent lives.
Rehabilitation programs, medical treatments, communication training and 24-hour free helpline are just some of the charity institutions and voluntary works aimed at building for the deaf-blind individuals.
Support the deafblind community. Help them connect with their families, friends and peers and empower them to achieve more.