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New project aims to celebrate individuals living with acquired deafblindness

Two people communicating via sign language The Celebrating Everyday Contributions project aims to showcase the amazing achievements of deafblind individuals, in order to change inaccurate perceptions surrounding people living with the condition.

Dr Peter Simcock, Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Chair of the Acquired Deafblindness Network (ADBN) for Deafblind International, is leading the project alongside international partners.

The project aims to reach out to those living with acquired deafblindness, asking individuals to share their achievements.

They will then be showcased online and across social media through the ADBN to challenge faulty perceptions of those living with the condition.

Challenging perceptions

According to the World Federation of the Deafblind’s 2018 Global Report on the situation and rights of persons with deafblindness, 0.2% of the population lives with severe deafblindness and 2.1% of the population experience milder forms of deafblindness. These numbers are predicted to grow with an increase in the ageing population.

Currently, only 37% of countries recognise deafblindness as a distinct disability, impacting their inclusion in statistics, policies and welfare services.

Dr Simcock recognised the need to highlight the capability of those living with deafblindness during his PhD project, which explored the lived experience of vulnerability among older deafblind people..

He found that participants reported being viewed as incapable or incompetent, and this had a negative impact on their lives. Peter hopes this is something the Celebrating Everyday Contributions project can begin to change:

We know those living with acquired deafblindness contribute to the lives of their families, friends, communities and society in many ways, and we want to know about them, showcase them and celebrate them.  Ultimately, the aim is to challenge the perception of those living with acquired deafblindness as incapable or incompetent.

 Dr Peter Simcock

Get involved

ADBN and international partners across the Netherlands, Argentina, Russia and Switzerland will be gathering stories and experiences for the launch on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

If you live with acquired deafblindness, and want to contribute to the project, please click here to access the invitation form and send your contribution to: peter.simcock@bcu.ac.uk

You can contribute in a number of ways:

  •   You can write about your experiences – in your own language.
  •   You can take photos or create pictures.
  •   You can make a video and send a link.
  •   You can email us photos or examples of your work, such as paintings, poems and writing.

The project will feature the stories as part of Deafblindness Awareness Week (27 June – 3 July), and you can get involved by sharing and engaging with the posts via Twitter.