Document Sample
					                            RAISING AWARENESS


Isabell “Izzy” Florence

Vice President
Scott Davert

Treasurer/Director of DBW, DeafBlind Workshop
Jill Gaus
Phone: 517.764.6178 V/TTY/VP
Brenda Cuddeback

             MEMBERS AT LARGE
John Robe
Harold Riley
Odessa Carter
Patty Grindel
Mike Reese

Beth Kennedy
Jonathan Truman

Dee Robertson

Mike Reese
Phone: 734.394.2790 VP

               SHI-M=DB MISSION

Our focus is to improve the lives and well-being of
DeafBlind individuals. SHI-M=DB will play an
active role in educating the public about the
needs and abilities of the DeafBlind. SHI-M=DB
helps DeafBlind individuals realize their potential
and utilize the skills they have to improve their

 SHI-M=DB is a 501-C-3 non-profit organization
 and contributions are tax deductible.


From the President’s Pen – by Izzy Florence
Birthdays and Anniversaries – July to September
Meet a Board Member!
Disability Benefits: A Free Resource – by Cindy
Izzy’s Rehab Corner – by Izzy Florence
Patty’s Poetry Podium – by Patricia Grindel
DeafBlind Communicator Coming Soon! – by Mike
Member News
New Prescription Labeling Guidelines – by Jill
Mark Your Calendar!
SSPs Needed for Thursday DB Social at DBW – by
Mike Reese and Jill Gaus
Call for Interpreters to Attend DBW 2008 – by Mike
Reese and Jill Gaus
Topics in Next Issue
Resources Section
  From the President’s Pen – by Izzy Florence

Hello Everyone!

On May 10th SHI-M=DB had an open board
meeting. Many people showed up. I want to
personally thank you all so much for coming and
making sure all accommodations were made. The
food was great! The fellowship was awesome! I
wish we could get together more often. It seems
to take so long to catch up on everyone. I
encourage more DB to come to the December 6th
meeting. I want to remind you that if you plan to
attend the August meeting you must also be a
participant in the Deafblind Workshop. Not that
we’re trying to exclude anyone, it’s all about
accommodations and safety for those present.
We will be looking for DB who would like to host a
SHI-M=DB board meeting and social. The meeting
in January was in Kalamazoo. The May meeting
was in Flint. The August meeting will be in
Brooklyn. If anyone would want to host the
December meeting, get in touch with us and let’s
see if it’s possible. Looking forward to hearing
from our membership.
Applications for DBW (Deafblind Workshop) will
be sent out soon. Watch your mailboxes and get
those sent back asap as there is always limited
space at camp. See you there!
Your SHI-M=DB President,

Isabell Florence

            July to September 2008


JULY                     JULY

AUGUST                   AUGUST
23 – Dee Robertson
28 – Patricia Grindel


If you would like to submit your birthday, your
spouse’s or significant other’s birthday, and/or
your anniversary, please email the Editor, Mike
Reese, at

              Meet a Board Member!
                   Scott Davert

   Hello, I'm Scott Davert, the new vice-president
of SHI-M=DB. I figured that especially since I will
not be able to attend the Deafblind weekend this
year, here would be a good place for you to get to
know a little more about me. I grew up in the town
of Lake Orion, which is a suburb of Detroit. I have
essentially been blind since birth due to an eye
condition known as retinal dysplasia. I have had
a progressive hearing loss since the age of 5 and I
am currently considered profoundly deaf.
    After graduating from a public school in 2001, I
enrolled at Saginaw Valley State University where
I completed a BA in psychology with a double
minor in sociology and creative writing in 2005. In
2006, I went to the Helen Keller National Center
where I both received training and also worked as
an intern in the assistive technology department.
When my training and internship were completed,
I came back to Michigan and started the dual
masters' program at Western Michigan University
in vocational rehabilitation counseling and
rehabilitation teaching. I am still in the process of
completing both of these degrees, and my
ultimate goal is to work with the deaf-blind
population. My primary interest is assistive
technology, although I also enjoy serving as a
mentor to other individuals who are deaf-blind.
    My reason for not attending the Deafblind
weekend is that I will be working at the Helen
Keller National Center at that time. I am going
back to HKNC this summer to work in the
technology department and also to help out with
the two-week program for high school students.
    As the vice-president of SHI-M=DB, I look
forward to working with everyone involved with
this organization. If any of you have concerns or
questions for me, feel free to send me an email at Thank you for reading,
and have a nice summer!

       Disability Benefits: A Free Resource
                 by Cindy Caldwell
(Original source: forwarded email from Roger
Yake of MCBTC)

Disability benefits a FREE resource
By Brian Therrien
A FREE resource for people (on or in need of)
disability benefits
This is an advertiser supported email system with
a lot of information on disability benefits and
employment. It is meant for a disabled person to
get the information themselves.
There is a video presentation on his webpage that
anyone can watch. It explains a lot of the

     Izzy’s Rehab Corner – by Izzy Florence
Spring cleaning is done. We are now fast
approaching Summer. It’s time to get out on those
balconies or yards and get some plants started.
Many DB don’t think about the visual appeal of a
planter box or small garden. You should! Even if
we can’t see them, we can still enjoy them in other
Decide if you’d rather have a flower “garden” or
vegetable “garden”. Yes, you can have a garden
on a balcony or in an apartment window; this isn’t
just for home owners so no excuses! Smile.
If you decide on using planters, you’ll have to ask
your local garden specialist which containers are
best for which vegetables or flowers. You can
figure the taller the plant, the larger the
circumference of the container. For example, if
you want to grow tomatoes, make sure you have a
large pot and a tall stick or stake to tie the
growing plant. I wouldn’t suggest corn if you’re
going to do a planter garden. Corn gets too tall.
If you’re growing flowers, the idea is the same, the
taller the plant, the larger the circumference of the
If you are actually going to plot out a garden in
your yard, go to your local hardware store and
purchase dowel rods and balls of string. Buy the
dowel rods which are the same circumference as
a pencil so you can sharpen one end of the dowel
rod in a pencil sharpener.
Ask your local garden store expert how far apart
plants need to be planted. Section off your garden
using the sharpened dowel rods and string. Now
you’re ready to plant. If you’re planting a
vegetable garden, mark your dowel rods so you
know what’s planted in that section. Enjoy! Have a
great summer!

              Patty’s Poetry Podium
               by Patricia Grindel

(Editor’s Note: This issue contains a poem written
by Patricia Grindel and Melanie “Ipo” Bond.)

               Blessings of Today

          I feel the warmth of the sun
        Radiating from the grains of sand
         Come join me for a day of fun
       Romping on the beach hand in hand

      Oh look! There's a beautiful starfish
      Washed ashore by the rushing waves
       A petosky stone is my fervent wish
        So rare to the heart that craves.

    My nose sniffs the sweet fragranced air
    Of barbeques, baby oil and suntan lotion
       Fishy smell as I wade with feet bare
        Heightening senses and emotion.

        And as the sun begins to go down
        We begin to put our things away
   And watch a bonfire turn orangish-brown
  Our hearts will cherish the blessings of today

        Patricia Grindel and Melanie Bond
                 April – May 2008

     DeafBlind Communicator Coming Soon!
                  by Mike Reese
  (Source: email newsletter from Jim Halliday of


DeafBlind Communicator (DBC) - Overview

New DeafBlind Communicator Opens Doors to the

Effective Collaboration Creates the Right Solution
HumanWare, in partnership with the Washington
State Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH),
is developing a new deafblind communication
system. The DeafBlind Communicator (DBC) is
the result of collaboration between deafblind
individuals and focus groups, professionals from
both the deaf and blind communities, and
HumanWare's engineering and marketing teams.
The basic DBC provides three types of
communication for deafblind users: face-to-face,
TTY, and SMS Texting. (Other more powerful
features can be activated by the user if desired).

Two Portable Components are Easy to Carry
The DBC consists of two separate components
that deafblind users can easily carry wherever
they go. The main unit is the DB-BrailleNote
which is a BrailleNote mPower (Perkins and
QWERTY models available) with special deafblind
software installed in it. The companion unit is the
DB-Phone which is a special cell phone with a
visual display and a QWERTY keyboard that also
has unique deafblind software installed in it.
These two components communicate wirelessly
with each other using Bluetooth.

Face-to-face Communication Wherever You Go
DBC users can now communicate with bus
drivers, waiters, shop clerks, sighted friends and
family, etc. by simply activating a face-to-face
chat. By following a simple menu on the DB-
BrailleNote, the DB-Phone can be activated and
handed to a sighted person. It is easy to keep
track of the DB-Phone as it has a retractable
security tether that remains attached to the user.
A message is both spoken and displayed on
the DB-Phone stating, "Hi, I'm blind and I can't
hear. Please type a message on this keyboard
and press (the return arrow)." Whatever the
sighted person types on the DB-Phone in text is
sent to the DB-BrailleNote user and displayed in
Braille. The DBC user can then type a response
on the DB-BrailleNote and send it to the DB-
Phone and so the conversation continues.

Communication with Other DBC Users
Not only can the DBC work in face-to-face
situations with sighted people using the DB-
Phone, but it can also communicate with other
DBC users.

TTY Integrated into the DB-BrailleNote
The DB-BrailleNote has the land-line connector
and special TTY software built right into it making
a separate TTY unnecessary. From the chat
menu, DBC lets the user enter a telephone
number of a TTY or relay service and then either
store that number in an address book for future
use or make the call and proceed with a TTY
conversation. The DBC also has an answering
machine built into it.

SMS Texting to Other Cell Phone Users
Text messaging is fast becoming one of the most
frequent forms of communication between cell
phone users. A SIM card can be purchased from
a wireless provider and installed in the DB-
Phone. Following the same basic steps used
when activating a TTY call, DBC users can choose
to activate the DB-Phone to send text messages.
Because of the wireless Bluetooth connection,
DBC users never need to access the phone
directly. Everything is controlled right from the

Keeping It Simple with KeySoft
The DBC is designed to be simple and straight
forward with the goal of enabling any Braille user
to learn to use it with minimal training. The
DBC uses a condensed form of BrailleNote
mPower's notoriously friendly user interface
called KeySoft. Easy-to-use menus enable users
to quickly find the applications they need, and
context sensitive "help" is always available in
every application to guide and remind the user of
options and commands.

Activating mPower Applications
Those users who are ready for a more
sophisticated system can choose to activate the
full power of the BrailleNote mPower.
Applications like a word processor with spell
checker, planner, email, Internet browser, and
bookreader are among the applications included
once activated. (For more information on the
BrailleNote mPower, check out the product
section on HumanWare's website).

HumanWare's new DeafBlind Communicator will
open a world of communication possibilities for
people who are deaf and blind! Look for its
introduction sometime in the summer of 2008.
Send Your Questions
You most likely have some questions about the
DBC. Please forward those questions to Although Jim will
not have time to respond to all of your emails
individually, he will create a list of frequently
asked questions and the related answers to be
included in our next newsletter.
If you know of others who may be interested in
receiving this newsletter, request a subscription
by sending an email to

For more information about HumanWare and its
other fine products visit our website at

                  Member News

On Saturday, 19 April and Sunday, 20 April, 2008,
Mike Reese participated in the 72nd Annual Great
Lakes Deaf Bowling Association tournament in
Columbus, Ohio, competing against
approximately 200 Deaf-sighted men. There were
three events: the team event, the singles event,
and the doubles event.
Mike bowled just barely above average (his league
average as of April 2007 was 134) in the team
event with four other men from the Metro Detroit
area on Saturday the 19th, and his team did not
win that particular event. On Sunday the 20th,
however, he bowled amazingly well with scores of
139, 161, and 198 in the singles event and 130,
189, and 151 in the doubles event (in which he
partnered with his best friend, Eric Gute). Mike’s
handicap of 156 helped place him 57th out of 77
top male scorers in the singles with handicap
As this was Mike’s second tournament (he
competed in last year’s GLDBA’s tournament in
Milwaukee, WI for the first time and placed 17th in
the doubles with handicap event with his partner
Daniel Spear), people kept swarming over to the
lanes where he bowled, in amazement of the sole
Deafblind bowler in the tournament.
While Mike has some vision in his eyes, he is not
able to see the foul line nor the arrows to properly
approach them, he is thus guided to them. At that
point, he sets up his approach by stepping back
three paces, prepares the delivery of his ball,
executes it by taking a step with his left foot (he is
a right-handed bowler), and swings the ball to
release it over the foul line. When he does not get
a strike, someone on his team lets him know
which pins are standing up to help him frame a
picture in his mind of where they are, and he uses
his memory of how to set up his second ball of
the frame in an attempt to pick up a spare. His low
depth perception and his inability to focus
properly keeps him from knowing exactly how
many pins are remaining; however, he can
distinguish between white and black – so when he
sees no white pins, he knows he has gotten a
strike or a spare.
Mike’s family and friends are proud of his
achievements and are cheering him on, with his
wife as his staunchest supporter.
Mike is the treasurer of the O’le Mixed League, a
deaf/hearing bowling league in the West Metro
Detroit area. He has been bowling since he was 8
years old.

      New Prescription Labeling Guidelines
                  by Jill Gaus

New Prescription Labeling Guidelines Promote
Medication Safety for People with Vision Loss

To help the 20 million people with vision loss
properly identify prescription medications, the
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
(ASCP) Foundation joined forces with the
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to
develop "Guidelines for Prescription Labeling and
Consumer Medication Information (CMI) for
Persons with Vision Loss." The Guidelines
provide pharmacists and pharmacies with specific
recommendations for making important
medication information accessible to patients
with vision loss and will serve as a resource for
persons with vision loss and organizations
serving this population.
In addition to specific format recommendations
for prescription labeling and CMI, the Guidelines
provide suggestions for making information
accessible to people for whom larger print is not
useful and general information on assistive
technology, resources, and services that
pharmacists and pharmacies can share with their
patients with vision loss. The full guidelines are
available at
For a summary of the guidelines and more
information about AFB's RxLabel Enable
Campaign go to

               Mark Your Calendar!


SHI-M=DB Open Board Meeting/Socials –
scheduled for Friday, 8 August, 2008 at DBW (only
the DB attending DBW are able to attend; so if you
wish to attend this meeting, you MUST register to
attend DBW) and Saturday, 6 December 2008
(location TBD). In order to attend any of these
events, please be sure to RSVP a month in
advance for each event to Jill Gaus at or 517.764.6178 V/TTY/VP.
DBW 2008 – 7 – 10 August 2008

  SSPs Needed for Thursday DB Social at DBW
         by Mike Reese and Jill Gaus

Do you know of any beginning ITP students,
family, friends, or Deaf adults who may be
interested in volunteering to assist as SSPs for
the DB social on Thursday, 6 August at the DBW?
If you do, please have them contact either Mike
Reese or Jill Gaus before 1 August 2008 for more

Their assistance will be greatly appreciated while
the interpreters are in their training that day in
preparation for Friday through Sunday.

     Call for Interpreters to Attend DBW 2008
            by Mike Reese and Jill Gaus

Interpreters! Are you interested in learning what
DeafBlind interpreting is all about? Then the
DeafBlind Workshop is for you!
The DB Workshop is designed to provide
interpreters with learning opportunities through
lecture (Thursday) and hands-on experiences
(Friday through Sunday). Interpreters will learn a
variety of skills necessary when working with a
person who has both vision and hearing loss.
Participants will be given the opportunity to work
with several DeafBlind people who have a variety
of support needs. Interpreters will learn DeafBlind
interpreting skills while supporting DeafBlind
campers to access workshops and fun activities.
Interpreters will learn: sighted guide, how to work
with a client who uses a guide dog, interpreting
techniques for DeafBlind campers who have a
vision loss (restricted field, tracking, etc), and
tactile interpreting strategies.

For further information, please contact:

      Jill Gaus                 Beth Kennedy
517-764-6178 V/TTY            (989) 774-2725 (V/TTY)

               Topics in Next Issue

All members of the SHI-M=DB readership are
welcome to submit any articles that may be of
interest to the Deafblind community, locally or
nationally. Even articles that are Deaf/Hard-of-
Hearing-related, blind-related, or citizen-related
are welcome as well. To submit, please send an
email to Mike Reese, Editor, at

very hard to raise funds for the organization, and
a huge expense is the printing costs of the
newsletter issues. If you have e-mail access, it
would help to greatly reduce such a cost to have
as many members receive the newsletter issues
via e-mail distribution. To participate in the e-mail
distribution list, please send an e-mail to Mike
Reese. Thank you so much for your
understanding and cooperation!

American Association for the Deaf-Blind (AADB)
8630 Fenton Road
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3803
TTY: 301.495.4402 Voice: 301.495.4403
Fax: 301.495.4404   Email:

American Federation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001

Helen Keller National Centre (HKNC)
Contact: Laura J. Thomas – Regional
485 Avenue of the Cities
Suite #5
East Moline, IL 61244-4040
309.755.0018 (Voice/TTY/VP)
309.755.0025 (Fax)
Catherine Papish, Admin. Asst –

175 Mason Circle
Concord, CA 94520
Michigan Assistive Technology Exchange
(AT Xchange)

Michigan Commission for the Blind
DeafBlind Unit
P.O. Box 30652
Lansing, MI 48909
Dee Robertson
Cindy Caldwell
800.292.4200 (Voice) 888.864.1212 (TTY )
517.335.5140 (Fax)

The Ultimate Disability Guide

To add a Deafblind-, blind-, or deaf/hard-of-
hearing-related resource to this list, please submit
all pertinent information, including a brief
summary of what the resource is about, to Mike
Reese, Editor, at Thank
SHI-M=DB             Free Matter for the
3123 Catalpa Drive   Blind
Jackson, MI 49203