• Română
  • English
Zoom in Regular Zoom out

course in deafblindness

When hands become eyes and ears

Between September 14th and September 17th, we organized a face-to-face training session in Predeal with experienced Romanian Sign Language interpreters. Over the course of four days, we explored elements related to communication methods for individuals with deafblindness, orientation and mobility aspects, as well as practical recommendations for interpreting for individuals with deafblindness.
This session is part of the Deafblindness Initiation Course for Romanian Sign Language interpreters, which runs from September 4th to October 16th, 2023, as part of the project the Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania.

Communication, Orientation, Mobility

The theme of the first day of the course was communication for people with deafblindness. Together with the participants, we discussed communication systems based on sign language, communication systems based on verbal language (such as Block alphabets, Braille, Moon), as well as hand configuration-based alphabets and location-based alphabets.

Participants took on the challenge of role-playing various life situations. In a doctor's office, at the Disability Evaluation Commission, or at the Civil Registry, interpreters acted as the eyes and ears of individuals with deafblindness, providing support and gaining a better understanding of the challenges they face in their daily lives.

In the following day we focused on recommendations regarding the quality of interpretation for individuals with deafblindness, considering the physical context and interpretation organization. Interpreters shared their valuable experiences, and we discussed elements related to the interpreter's appearance, the communication environment, and interpreting in a team.

The second part of the day, dedicated to orientation and mobility, brought a new challenge. Blindfolded, with reduced hearing, and using the white-red cane, the symbol of deafblindness, interpreters were guided on a short route to experience the world from the perspective of a person with this double disability. After the exercise, they shared their emotions with us, transitioning from fear and uncertainty to confidence, curiosity, and courage.

"Together, we can bring light into the lives of people with deafblindness"

After spending several days learning from each other and building connections, we concluded the course with many ideas about what we can do together to support people with deafblindness and the desire to continue this journey together. We thank all the participants for their presence and involvement!

"The presence of so many people gathered together, the connections we've made, are a valuable treasure to me. So little is known about deafblindness; only together can we change mindsets and bring light into the lives of people with deafblindness!

The role of an interpreter for individuals with deafblindness is extremely demanding and not easy for an LSR interpreter. Being an LSR interpreter is the joy of my life, being an interpreter for individuals with deafblindness is the challenge of my life! Thank you for everything I received in this course, and I eagerly wait what comes next!" - Angela M.

"I am overjoyed by the unique opportunity you gave me! Here, I have learned many important and useful things. During an exercise, I realized that I can once again enjoy small things, such as applauding in my hands for an accomplishment. But there are so many challenges beyond our daily lives! Thank you for welcoming me into your family! I sincerely hope that this beginning has no end!" - Mihaela D.

"I greatly appreciate the effort and willingness of the trainers to provide me with valuable information about people with deafblindness. I realise that I am richer emotionally and intellectually because I have borrowed from the experiences of the group, mature and experienced people. I am confident that the information will be useful in my work." - Diana S.

The Voice of people with Deafblindness in Romania is implemented by the Foundation Sense International Romania in partnership with Sense International UK, with the financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants Grants 2014 -2021. The content of this materiale does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania are available at www.activecitizensfund.ro.

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe

“The course which helps you grow both intelectually and emotionally”

“Cover your eyes with a dark scarf and go to the kitchen for a glass of water.”

With our eyes covered or tightly closed, we rise from our seats in front of the laptop to meet the challenge launched by Eva Oprea, special education teacher and one of the trainers of the introductory course in deafblindness.

This is the fourth live session and we are experiencing for a few moments how a visually impaired person feels like when doing simple tasks. A student says she stopped for several times on the otherwise familiar way to the kitchen, while someone else says that she felt frustrated to pour water next to the glass because she could not coordinate her moves without seeing.

“When you have impaired vision, it’s much harder to do simple tasks. We don’t realize this until we have a similar experience. It’s one thing to understand it rationally and a completely different thing to feel it,” says Eva Oprea in the introduction of her chapter on orientation and mobility.

What is deafblindness and which are its causes, how people with visual and hearing impairments communicate, details about orientation and mobility, personal and social development, methods of intervention and the specifics of deafblindness in children, adults and elderly people were the topics addressed during the second edition of the introductory course in deafblindness, organized between February 28th and April 15th.

For seven weeks, 21 participants with different background- students, teachers, special education specialists, social workers and speech therapists – learned basic elements about deafblindness, which they can use both in their personal, and professional lives.

The second edition of the online course was special because two deafblind people were among the participants, and also the mother of a girl with this deficiency, who shared the challenges she faces. They all participated in the course as beneficiaries of the Vasile Adamescu scholarship.

“I am grateful for this experience! I learned many new things and I hope I will be able to help others in the future, ”says A.P.

The course was accessible to deafblind people with the help of the two sign language interpreters, Ioana Tufar and Mădălina Simion.

The four trainers, associate professor dr. Cristian Buică-Belciu, assistant professor dr. Ioana Tufar, psychologist Gabriela Jianu and psychopedagogue Eva Oprea warmly shared information, resources and practical examples, which helped participants to understand the world of people with deafblindness.

“It was very interesting how the specialists shared theoretical information mixed with real situations from their experience. This made learning much easier, and the knowledge will stay with me and will definitely help me in the future, in my career as a psychopedagogue “, says I.M.

The practical examples also created an engaging learning environment for participants who are already working with people with disabilities.

“The course was a pleasant, engaging and captivating learning and training experience. In addition to the theoretical aspects, the trainers presented many examples of good practice, in an interesting, motivating and interactive way. The information was condensed, with many practical examples. It will definitely contribute to my professional development! ”- G.L.

The students recommend the course to both specialists and to those who have people with deafblindness in their family.

“The way the trainers presented the information and the examples they gave helped us understand the needs of people with this condition, but also created a clearer vision regarding the way they communicate, and how the intervention and their integration must be carried out. ”- G.L.

“It’s a course you have to take in order to learn information from specialists, but also to be prepared for unexpected situations that you may encounter.” – L.U.

“I highly recommend this course, because it helps you grow both intelectually and emotionally I believe that anyone interested in deafblindness should attend this course, as there is a considerable difference, which cannot be expressed in words, between the mentality and the ideas you begin with and the mentality and ideas you finish with. ”- I.M.