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An Overview of Strategies to Improve Communication and Information Access for Individuals Who Live With Combined Vision Loss and Hearing Loss Ed Gervasoni,

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Presentation on theme: "An Overview of Strategies to Improve Communication and Information Access for Individuals Who Live With Combined Vision Loss and Hearing Loss Ed Gervasoni,"— Presentation transcript:

1 An Overview of Strategies to Improve Communication and Information Access for Individuals Who Live With Combined Vision Loss and Hearing Loss Ed Gervasoni, Ed.S, COMS, CVRT (520) 603-9016

2 Qualifications Over 25 years experience working and interacting across environments with individuals who are considered deaf-blind.; experiences include – One-on-one Community Support Service Provider (SSP) – Sign Language Interpreting – Specialized direct service provision in the areas of: Orientation & Mobility (COMS) Independent Living Skills (CVRT) Information & Communication Access (highly informed) – Co-constructed advocacy work on city and state levels with the deaf- blind community members – Trainer and coach of Support Service Personnel and Interveners Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) independent living for the deaf-Blind

3 Presentation Goals Participants will be informed about strategies for improving communication and information access for individuals who live with combined vision and hearing losses

4 Content Areas The strategies addressed will be in the areas of: – self-advocacy – specialized service provision – assistive technologies

5 What is Deaf-Blindness The disability of access to: – Visual and Auditory Information – Communication – Static & Dynamic Environments

6 Helen Keller on Communication the problems of hearing loss are deeper and more complex, if not more important, than those of blindness. Blindness prevents one from seeing the world, but hearing loss prevents one from easily communicating with those in it. By far, communication access is the greatest of all barriers!

7  Face-to-face  Tele-communications  Deaf-Blind people with each other and as a group  Communication with automated technologies COMMUNICATION ACCESS

8 In the home or within indoor controlled environments much can be done for the person who has a high degree of literacy skills & good adaptive independent living skills Outside of the home (information access is much less controllable) Information Access Barriers for the Deaf-Blind:

9 Knowing where and what is going on in a particular space Community Access Gaining access to it Transportation

10 Critical Considerations Environmental Complexity Situational Predictability Static Verses Dynamic Environments Level of Assertiveness

11 Situational and Environmental Complexity Recognizing that situations can range from Simple ________to ________ Complex o Simple = only one thing to deal with; no visual or auditory clutter in the background or surrounding areas; visual & auditory contingencies are ideal. o Complex = many things to deal with, visual and auditory clutter exists in the background and surrounding areas, contingencies are less than ideal

12 Self-Education Combined with Environmental Control One must understand and be able to – Articulate the functional aspects of one’s unique combined hearing and vision loss – Assess the situation they are confronted with – Provide direction on how accommodations should be made – Insist that established protocols are used and followed

13 Self-Education and Control Knowing what one needs and wants (by priority) from given situations Is willing to implement strategies for control, management and success.

14 Audotory Complexities Simple Environment

15 Auditory Complexities

16 Auditory – Background noises, number of conversation partners involved, information hearing needs to be attended to, other interfering factors, available AT Complexities of the Environment

17 Of all people who are visually impaired, 80 percent have some usable vision,” explains Darick Wright, Perkin’s Low-Vision Clinic’s coordinator. “It’s very important to understand what that level of vision is and how an individual uses it….”

18 Visual Lighting, AT available Glare factors with lighting and AT How much visual information needs to be attended to Static verses dynamic activities Complexities of the Environment

19 Visual Complexity


21 Understanding the functional barriers that one’s combined vision and hearing loss create for one in given situations How and when is communication affected? How do the barriers affect one’s ability to gain access to various forms of: – Visual information – Auditory information – Various combinations of both

22 Assistive Technology Definition: A tool that enables access to information that is otherwise unobtainable. Specifically technologies that address: – enhancing auditory access – enhancing visual access

23 Auditory Enhancement Technologies Hearing Aids - newer hearing aids incorporate two features that result in better processing for speech 1.Frequency transposition – allows the hearing aids to take sounds too faint for hearing impaired person to hear and transposes them to frequency levels that are audible (east). 2.Separating speech from noise – compresses noise and makes speech linear thus enabling better clarity Brady, G.Y., October 2010; Monthly Communicator, New Jersey Speech + Text – available options

24 Hearing Aid Technologies Programmable Covers all frequencies 32 channels & 4 programs: Omni and dynamic directional microhone, FM system, direct connection to telephone and computer

25 Face-to-Face Communication UbiDuo Communication Device up to 24 point front – reverse video users UUUb

26 Video Phone Technologies

27 Visual Enhancement Technologies Commercial off the shelf equipment Specialized equipment with ideal features – Ability to zoom from near to far and everything in between – Ability to control for resolution & clarity across given environments – Ability to have simultaneous viewing capacities – The need for portability and ease of use

28 Using AT for communication

29 Video Magnification Technology

30 Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 On Friday, October 8, President Barack Obama signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 into law. To ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to emerging Internet Protocol- based communication and video programming technologies in the 21st century.

31 Human Accommodation Tool Specialized Service Provision (SSP): one- on-one support to help you manage: – Communication – Visual-auditory information access – Travel within the community

32 Using The SSP

33 Using the SSP

34 Eliminate or change environmental factors that are distracters Use accommodation tools when you have them available such as AT and SSP Services Environmental Access Accommodations

35 Enlisting others to help control the environment Creating one’s own environments and establishing one’s own protocols within them Combining methods whenever it’s useful Environmental Access Accommodations

36 Self-Advocacy Be willing to declare what ones access needs are Educating others about the accommodation strategies that work best for a particular individual Urging others to continuously practice making accommodations in order to help one maintain inclusion



39 Self-Advocacy Learn and discover new ways of doing things which encourages and promotes: – Efficiency – Fatigue reduction – Simplicity – Satisfaction

40 Specialized Service Provision An individual specifically trained to help accommodate for access to: – Communication – Desired auditory and visual information – Travel within community environments

41 Specialized Service Provision May be volunteer, family member, paid staff person, or friend Their primary role is to help one gain as much access as possible in any given situation

42 Case Studies & Discussion Ed Gervasoni, Ed.S., COMS, CVRT (520) 603-9016 text or voice

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