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AER Journal: Research and Practice in Visual Impairments and Blindness

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Deafblind people, Deafblind people -- Services for, Participatory action research


In June 2009, six young adults who are deaf-blind traveled to Washington, D.C. for a one-week course on leadership and advocacy. The young adults were briefed on four legislative topics in deaf-blindness: the need for Support Service Providers (SSPs); increased support for the state technical assistance projects; inclusion in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009; and increased support for the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC). Each young adult selected one or two of the legislative topics as the focus of advocacy during Congressional visits. The participants further refined their communication, self-determination, and advocacy skills within the classroom setting and in legislative arenas. In addition, they assumed new roles as co-researchers in this participatory action research study that examined their development as change agents. Participant co-researchers were highly satisfied with the training received, as indicated by mean ratings of course evaluation items. Their interviews indicated the following as being important to effective training in advocacy: access to information on policy issues, knowledgeable mentors who understand deaf-blindness, and opportunities to practice advocacy skills while engaging with elected officials.


At the time of publication Amy T. Parker was affiliated with Texas Tech University.

This journal ceased publication in 2012.

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