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In a letter to the FCC:

The group for Star YRS and Star VRS for the Deaf Blind ("Star VRSdb") (collectively "CAAG/Star VRS") informing  the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that CAAG/Star YRS will no longer provide video relay services ("YRS") as of 5:00PM (EST) on March 31, 2016 and will immediately cease enrolling new YRS customers.

Read letter to the FCC 

See captioned ASL Video of announcement 




By Megan Williams
January 20, 2016

STAUNTON — It took only one person to write the history of deaf education in Virginia from 1839 through 1948. But it took 10 people, 10 years to write the continuation of that history through 2014.

It may have taken a long time, and a lot of hard work, said Rachel Bavister, a member of the deaf alumni association and former teacher, but the history of deaf education at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind is an important story to tell.

"This was not my book," Bavister said. "It was a team of people who did all the hard work."

On Wednesday, the book, titled "History of the Education of the Deaf in Virginia," was dedicated to alumni, past and present, at a ceremony in the auditorium at VSDB in Staunton.

Read more  . . . VA Deaf Education.


Released: January 14, 2016


Washington, D.C. – The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB or Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has selected the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) for certification to participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for the state of Virginia, effective January 1, 2016. . . . .

page 3  . . .

The Bureau has determined that DBVI meets the Commission’s qualifications for certification to operate the NDBEDP in Virginia. Since 1982, DBVI has offered a comprehensive program that provides deaf-blind individuals with specialized services in the areas of communication, education, assistive technology, independent living, and rehabilitation.13 DBVI currently has two staff members who provide statewide consultation, training, and technical assistance to other DBVI staff and outside entities, ensuring that deaf-blind individuals of all ages have full participation in various programs and services within DBVI and in their communities.14


Links to the Public Notice:




Helping Students with Visual Impairments

The guide was created in part by four experts in the field, who lent their experience and expertise to help us provide students with visual impairments the tips and resources needed to succeed in school. Key features of our guide include:

 - Tips for choosing the right college
- An in-depth look at the top assistive technology and tools being used today
- Scholarships available for students with visual impairments




“Walk Our Way” Family Fun Day!!
Saturday, October 24th, 2015 from
11:00 am -2:00 pm

Activities begin at 11:00 am - Walk will begin at 1:30 pm

Westfield High School - Track /Field & Gym 4700 Stonecroft Blvd. Chantilly, VA 20151

Come out and join us in raising awareness of blindness and low vision by participating in our WOW event! Enjoy games, explore technology displays, visit exhibition booths, walk 1 lap with visual simulators, receive FREE vision and hearing screenings by the Lions Club and much more......

Participation is FREE! All ages are welcome!

For more information call us: DBVI-Fairfax
(703) 359-1100





National Public Radio
JULY 31, 2015

To Haben Girma's grandmother, back in East Africa, it "seemed like magic." Her granddaughter, born deaf and blind, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and works as a civil rights attorney.

It's easy to understand why the grandmother feels that way. Years before, she had tried to find a school in Eritrea for Girma's older brother, who was also born deaf and blind. She was turned away. There were schools for blind children and schools for deaf children. But no school would teach a child who was deaf-blind (that's the preferred terminology in the disability community). Girma describes that brother as "brilliant."

Girma told the story last week at the White House, when she introduced President Obama during a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

By the time Girma was born in 1988, six years younger than her brother, her mother had made a refugee's journey from Eritrea to the United States. And in California, a deaf-blind girl like Girma had a legal right to an education.

In public schools in Oakland, she was educated alongside other students, leaving her mainstream classes for an hour a day to learn Braille.

Read more  . . . See Pictures

Watch captioned - Video


Communities Digital News

SAN DIEGO, June 23, 2015 — Helen Keller was a deaf-blind American woman whose courageous journey began on June 27, 1880, and who continued to inspire the world until her death at the age of 87.

Born with normal hearing and sight, at 19 months she suffered an illness of “acute congestion of the stomach and brain” that was believed to have been the cause of her lifelong deafness and blindness, according to Wikipedia.

The exact nature of her illness is not known, though it has been speculated that she suffered from a form of meningitis or possibly scarlet fever.

Keller was brilliantly portrayed by Patty Duke in the Oscar award-winning 1962 movie “The Miracle Worker,” which helped showcase her struggles and triumphs to an international audience.

Despite her incomparable struggle to become relevant in the world with which she could not communicate, Keller later triumphed over seemingly insurmountable adversity, becoming a well-known author, activist, lecturer and world traveler–also having earned a bachelor of arts degree from Radcliffe College.
Read more  . . . .Helen Keller


On June 22, 2015, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice announcing the funding allocations for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for the 2015-2016 Fund year.  The NDBEDP is a program mandated by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that provides up to $10 million annually for the distribution of communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind.

Links to the Public Notice:

For further information, contact the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office:  Jackie Ellington at 202-418-1153; or Rosaline Crawford at 202-418-2075 or


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Jesse Garza Jgarza@Journalsentinel.Com
Feb. 1, 2015

Edith Simons grew to believe courage is perseverance in the face of fear after enduring the onslaught of deafness and blindness.

It wasn't just the fear of losing her sight and hearing, but the loss of simple conversations with her parents and friends, and the loss of her sense of self due to a growing sense of invisibility, her daughter Nana LoCicero said.

But by losing those senses, Simons gained a voice.

"It took a while for her to realize that there needed to be someone to advocate for the deaf and blind," LoCicero said.

"But once she found her courage and voice, then she was something to reckon with."

Edith Simons, a decadeslong local, national and international advocate for the rights of the deaf and visually impaired, died Jan. 24 at the age of 94.

"You can't be afraid," Simons once said in a 1989 newspaper interview.

"If you're afraid, you do it anyway."

Among Simons' accomplishments was the creation of a statewide, full-time telecommunications relay system, or TRS, in Wisconsin that's functionally equivalent to the telephone service used by hearing people.

Read more  . . . Edith Simons

MWADB is hosting the upcoming Tactile Carnival!

When: Saturday September 13, 2014
Where: Maryland School for the Deaf (Columbia Campus
Where: Denton Building Multipurpose room
Address: 8169 Old Montgomery Rd (route 108) Columbia, Md
Time: Volunteers needed from 11am to 5pm
Carnival time: 12pm to 4pm

What we need:
- 15 volunteers to help run the booths.
- SSPs
- Drivers to provide transportation to and from event

Information about the Tactile Carnival:
The Tactile Carnival features a large variety of original carnival games and prizes that are fully accessible to the deaf-blind. Organizations wishing to host the Tactile Carnival pay for transport and prize costs and any extras (such as food) they want at the event. The host can select from available games and request a specific theme for the event. New original games or modifications of existing games can be made to fit themes. Because the Tactile Carnival operates like a nonprofit (only requiring cost reimbursement), game booths are run mainly by volunteers during events. The host organization is expected to provide a suitable site and (usually) some volunteers to help run booths. Volunteers are coached before an event begins and provided with instruction guides for their booths.

If you have any questions please let me know.
Rachel Horowitz
SSP Coordinator
Metro Washington Association of the Deafblind (MWADB)



Washington Post
 June 17

Of the many ways people around the world are watching the World Cup, this may be the most inventive.

Business Insider reported a young man who is deaf and blind was able to enjoy the Cup after friends and family created a handmade board to mimic the players movements — kind of like soccer Braille. Here are highlights from the video:

Link to video:

Signers needed for a new ASL College curriculum in the works!
We seek Deaf, Deaf-Blind, CODAs and HOH students currently enrolled in a college or university between the ages of 18-30

Screenings for the book will take place at Gallaudet University campus, at SAC (Student Academic Center) room 2212 on Friday April 4th, 2014 from 1-4pm and Saturday April 5th, 2014 from 10am-noon and 1pm-5pm
Screenings should not take more than 15-20 minutes of your time.

If selected to be in our book, you will receive monetary compensation. Filming for the ASL book is slated for Fall 2014 in NYC.
Questions or concerns can be emailed to




MWADB e-news: meeting reminder; BADB web page; DB housing; acupuncture for RP

From Metro Washington Association of the Deaf-Blind

Biennial membership meeting this Saturday

From the board; send your rsvp to


When: Saturday, December 14, 11:00 to 5:00
Where: Calvary Lutheran Church, 9545 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

MWADB will provide six kinds of soup (vegetable beef, potato bacon, chicken noodle, minestrone, tomato, and lentil) and drinks (ginger ale, Dr. Pepper, Crystal Light, and water).
Please bring a holiday dish to share: casserole, salad, bread, vegetables, or dessert.
If you want to run for a board position, email
You can RSVP for the meeting on the web at or by email to  You can request an SSP and transportation in your rsvp message.
Watching the weather.... If it is bad enough, we will make an announcement on Saturday morning. If weather is okay, we will see you there!

BADB added to MWADB web site

From Andrew Cohen
BADB (Baltimore Association of DeafBlind) decided to take down their web site and asked MWADB to create a web page for them on our site. Since it is our philosophy to help our partners and DeafBlind individuals anytime and anywhere, the board immediately agreed to help. BADB's listservs have been merged with the MWADB membership, SSP, and e-news listervs.
To see the BADB web page, please go to

DB-accessible apartments

From Randy Pope; contact
We are a newly renovated property located near Downtown Silver Spring, and we are going to have availability for apartments that meet VHI [Visual and Hearing Impaired] ADA requirements. If there are any families that would like to apply for a renovated community, we will be more than happy to provide the future applicants with more information.

Joel Ventura

P.S. Please find attached our allowable incomes and monthly rents; the highlighted ones are specifically for VHI ADA apartments.


Acupuncture Improves Eyesight for RP

From Andrew Cohen

A new pilot study finds acupuncture effective in significantly improving eyesight for patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This disorder is a genetically inherited condition that may lead to blindness. Acupuncture improved overall eyesight and improved issues of dark to light adaptation and nyctalopia (night blindness).

Acupuncture may prevent blindness and improves eyesight. Patients received10 thirty minute acupuncture treatments over a two week period. Acupuncture styles included electroacupuncture, local acupuncture and body-style acupuncture. Local points included acupuncture needles on the forehead and below the eyes.

Testing showed that some of the subjects improved in both eyes after only one week of acupuncture treatment and the results lasted between 10 to 12 months. Dark adaptation increased significantly in the subjects. Night vision and the ability to see in darkened regions improved significantly in subjects. Several other visual field improvements were noted in the subjects including expansion of visibility within are larger visual field. The researchers concluded that acupuncture “entails minimal risk if administered by a well-trained acupuncturist and may have significant, measurable benefits on residual visual function in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, in particular scotopic sensitivity, which had not previously been studied.”

This recent study was published in the prestigious Clinical and Experimental Optometry journal. Treatments for retinitis pigmentosa with acupuncture and herbal medicine have demonstrated positive clinical outcomes in several studies. A groundbreaking study was published in 2011 wherein it was discovered that acupuncture protects the optic nerve from damage caused by intraocular pressure by alleviating stresses on retinal and optic nerve axonal ultrastructures. Another study showed that Chinese medicine improved retinal cone activity for patients with retinitis pigmentosa, even in cases of advanced retinal degeneration. Using electroretinograms for the investigation, the study also concludes that, “TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) treatment could also enhance the bioactivity of (the) nerve network and therefore have a definite significance in retarding the progression of disease and keeping the central vision.

A more aggressive study wherein She Xiang was injected into acupuncture points UB18 and UB23 found that acupuncture improved eyesight for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. The study concludes that injection of She Xiang into Ganshu (UB18) and Shenshu (UB23) “can improve effectively the function and metabolism of optic cells, promote blood circulation of the retina, enhance the visual acuity, and protect the central vision for the patient of retinitis pigmentosa.” In yet another study of retinitis pigmentosa, patients receiving acupuncture (ranging from ages 7 – 75 years) showed significant improvement and a halting of deterioration of the visual field.

If you have news, announcements, or e-news feedback to share with MWADB, please send an email to
If you do not want to receive e-news, you can UNSUBSCRIBE here.If you prefer to receive e-news in plain text, you can subscribe here.
~The MWADB Board



VADB Annual Meeting This Saturday! Oct. 12

DATE:  Saturday, October 12, 2013

Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)
395 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227

TIME:     10 am to 3 pm

COST:    FREE! Lunch provided courtesy of VA Relay Outreach Services

Presentations will be given by:

Ms. Elizabeth Spiers (DBVI DB Services Program Director) – SSP Workgroup Progress

Mr. Brandon Cox (Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind) – The CLB SSP Program

Mr. Clayton Bowen (VDDHH) – iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program

Election will be held for officers for Fall 2013-Fall 2015

An auction of donated items will be held to raise funds for VADB. Please bid on an item or two, or donate items

For more information: Contact Jenny McKenzie: or 540-904-6671 TTY or VA Relay VCO

Or Beth Hammer: (804-398-0608) V

VADB, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization seeking to promote educational, economic, and social welfare for deafblind Virginians.



Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

MWADB special meeting!

Metro Washington Association of the DeafBlind


The Board of MWADB announces an emergency special meeting for all members, interpreters, and SSPs.


It will take place on


Saturday, September 28

11 am to 5 pm


After searching for a location for nearly two months, we finally found a friend who offers their church space:


Calvary Lutheran Church

9545 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD

(5 minutes walk from Forest Glen Metro)


Free lunch and drinks will be provided.


Please fill out RSVP at or email to with your request for SSP, interpreter and/or ride.



11 am to 12:30 pm: Lunch

1 pm to 5 pm: Meeting (with breaks throughout)


We strongly encourage everyone to attend as you have the power to decide the fate of MWADB's future.  What are your dreams for the DeafBlind community?


Thank you,


The Board of MWADB


President, Andrew Cohen

Vice President, Bruce Denhart

Secretary, Kelli Stein

Treasurer, Tim Putt




Save the date


Tactile Carnival is scheduled for Nov. 9.  More information is coming soon!




Thinking of Art


MWADB sends best wishes for a speedy recovery to Art Roehrig.  It seems Art is healing fast after his accident, and that's great news!


Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.