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EDGENIE BELLAH: While we know in terms of helping educate the general public, it really helps to put a face to something to help people identify, that's impossible within our deaf-blind community. Because there isn't a typical portrait of someone who is deaf-blind. Deaf-blindness is incredibly diverse. It's one of the most diverse disabilities out there. Because deaf-blindness is so rare and families are usually the only ones within their community who know the most about deaf-blindness, specifically as it relates to their child, they are constantly put in the position of having to help educate others about deaf-blindness. And about their children. And this goes across the board. It means educating medical professionals about deaf-blindness and the medical issues that need to be addressed. It's helping educate the educators about deaf-blindness and the educational strategies that might work best for their child.
TINA HERTZOG: I was a teacher of students with visual impairments for 30 years before I had that first child with deaf-blindness. And what I didn't know about a child with deaf-blindness would have filled the room.
ROBBIE BLAHA: The deaf-blind learning style is so unique. I don't know who said it first, but they were right. They said it's not deaf plus blind. It's deaf times blind.
LAURI TRIULZI: All human crave connection. Communication, the exchange of ideas and feelings and thoughts is a way of creating connection.
DEANNA PETERSON: It's very complex. And every deaf-blind person, child is totally different. But deaf-blindness is huge. It's huge.