Press release, 25 February 2016
We rely on our senses to relate to everything happening around us, to move around and to perceive the world. Specialists say that 90% of the information we receive comes via our eyes and ears.
Imagine, for one second, what your life would be like if you were both hearing and visually impaired. You would for sure face difficulties in communication, orientation and access to information.
What is deafblindness?
When hearing the word deafblindness, many people think this is about people who neither see, nor hear at all. Indeed, such cases occur, but they are extremely rare. Most people with deafblindness have a combination of visual and hearing impairments, in different degrees.
Deafblindness is a severe multisensory impairment, many times associated with other types of defficiencies.
What has the foundation achieved during these years?
Sense International Romania story is the story of children with deafblindness.
Sense International Romania programmes focus on early intervention for newborn babies with sensory impairments (in Bucharest, Oradea, Timișoara and Iași), an adequate education for children with deafblindness (in 16 special schools) and vocational services for young people who are deafblind (in Arad, București, Buzău, Focșani, Galați, Iași and Timișoara).
Over the years, SIR has facilitated the hearing screening of over 90.000 newborn babies, the visual testing of over 15.000 children, early intervention services for 190 newborn babies, adequate education for 500 pupils with deafblindness, vocational services for 80 young people, training courses in the field of deafblindness for 200 special education teachers, 10 of them becoming national trainers in deafblindness. In addition to this, as a result of our lobby and advocacy efforts, legislation recognised deafblindness as a distinct disabilitysince 2006.
“We like to say that we have spent 15 meaningful years with these children, their parents, doctors and therapists who looked after them, local and national authorities, representatives of partner schools and many others who trusted what we do. We wish to keep on growing and have an increased impact in the life of children and young people with deafblindness in Romania, who deserve the chance to have a brighter future.” says Cristiana Salomie, Director of Sense International Romania.
Mr. Vasile Adamescu, person with deafblindness (totally lacking sight and hearing), member on the Board of Sense International Romania, says:
“Throughout the years, many things have changed in Romania in the field of deafblindness. Back then, when I came to school I was considered blind deaf and mute, now I am considered a deafblind person.
The state institutions have understood that the deafblind people must receive special treatment compared to the other disabilities. Of course, there are many other things to be solved. Now there are many special classes where deafblind children learn, protected workshops where they can work, specialists who guide them. Society begins to slowly accept us, to consider us more important than before.
We try, alongside Sense International Romania and specialists from our country to make as many good things as possible for this category of people. It is very important to identify deafblind children and to educate them from an early age so as to be able to become useful society members.”