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Spring 1998 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Update on DBMAT (Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas)

by Pat McCallum, Executive Director, DBMAT

What a great time our Board Members experienced during the Symposium on Deafblindness in February. It was wonderful to meet and chat with the many family members and professionals who attended the "Friday Night Social" and to be available to assist as needed during the entire two-day conference. Our thanks to the Deafblind Outreach Project for giving us the opportunity to be so visible. We also appreciate the assistance received from the Deaf-Blind with Multiple Disabilities Program of the Texas Rehabilitation Commission (TRC) which allowed our Board Members whose family member is over age 22 to participate. We are pleased that over 30 of the Symposium participants joined our statewide family/professional organization. DBMAT, our acronym pronounced DeeBeeMat, welcomes these new and renewal members and we look forward to hearing from many more people who collected our brochures to take home with them.

Prior to the Symposium, DBMAT addressed several important issues which affect children and adults who are deafblind. We sent written comments to our legislators regarding the "Gorton Amendment" which was attached to the 1998 Labor/HHS/Education Bill. We participated in the TRC Five Year Strategic Planning Process, and in January we submitted written comments to the proposed rules for the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In late February, one of our Board Members aptly testified regarding the Deaf-Blind Medicaid Waiver Program at TRC's board meeting. DBMAT strives to give information regarding issues which affect persons who are deafblind and to educate those in places to cause positive change about the special needs of individuals who are deafblind.

Last fall, DBMAT hosted the second meeting of the National Technical Assistance Consortium (NTAC) Texas Stakeholder's Meeting during our 25th Annual Family Conference. At that meeting NTAC designated DBMAT as the point agency to receive technical assistance in Texas. The DBMAT Board chose to work toward clarifying and expanding its goals looking toward the year 2000 and using the expertise of a facilitator to assist them in this process.

Immediately following the February Symposium on Deafblindness, the DBMAT Board met together, through the support of NTAC and Deafblind Outreach, with an excellent facilitator who helped us in our own strategic planning for years 1998 and 1999. The goals chosen for the year 1998 are:

The DBMAT goals for the year 1999 are:

DBMAT feels these are ambitious but reachable goals if we work hard together with a little help from our friends to attain our hopes.

In the meantime, DBMAT continues with our efforts to link parents from across the state through our Parent Connection Project. SIB STREET - The Sibling Connection gives brothers and sisters of individuals who are sensory impaired with other disabilities the opportunity to chat with each other about their feelings and concerns to increase their understanding of themselves and of their family member. DBMAT also has three ongoing focus groups which are designed by the age of the family member who is deafblind. These focus groups are Education (0-12 years of age), Transition (13-22 years of age), and Adult Services (23 and older).

Our spring edition of In Touch will be out by the first of April with an abundance of news for our readers and our summer edition will contain our fall conference information. Dues are $5.00 per individual per year to become a member of DBMAT and receive our newsletter. To obtain more information about our organization, get in touch with us at DBMAT, 815 High School Drive, Seagoville, TX 75159-1737 or by phone (voice & fax) at (972) 287-1904.

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