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Summer 2003 Table of Contents
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DBMAT Regional Coordinators Can Lend a Hand

By Debra Newberry, Paul and Susie Welch, and Cyndi Hunley, Regional Coordinators, Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas
with David Wiley, Texas Deafblind Outreach

Since 1973, the Deafblind Multihandicapped Association of Texas (DBMAT) has been an active statewide organization of families and professionals concerned with deafblindness, or multiple impairments including deafness or blindness. Within the past few years, DBMAT has designated Regional Coordinators (RCs), volunteer family members who agree to help families in their areas with referral to resources, connection to other families in the area, and a sympathetic ear from someone else who has "been there". The role of the RCs also includes being available as a resource to regional agencies and organizations, along with attending training sessions about topics related to deafblindness and state systems.

These profiles will introduce you to a few of the RCs. Any of the RCs listed welcome contact from families in their regions who are looking for connections or help. They also want to hear from any agencies or groups in the region wanting to know more about deafblindness or DBMAT.

San Angelo area

My name is Debra Newberry. I serve as the Regional Coordinator for Region 14. My region covers 14 counties of rural West Texas. I have been part of the Deafblind Multihandicapped Association for 3 years. As a Regional Coordinator I have had the privilege of attending numerous training sessions directed by TSBVI Deafblind Outreach. I have learned many things about deafblindness as well as meeting other wonderful Regional Coordinators from around the state. I have received an incredible amount of information from these training sessions, but my most extensive training has come from my 17 year old son, Nathan. Nathan has multiple disabilities including deafblindness, autism, mental retardation, and a seizure disorder, as well as several other disorders. Although I will say that having Nathan has not been without its many challenges, it has also taught me many valuable lessons that help me cope with life's hurdles.

I have had many experiences over the years with the school system, health and behavior issues, as well as sorting through all that is involved for an individual with the disability of deafblindness. There was always someone that I connected with that helped guide me in the right direction. DBMAT saw the need of having a contact for parents that face some of the same issues I have, in hopes that we can help with a comforting word, or information that can lead you in the right direction.

I would love to visit with anyone to help offer some guidance. You can reach me at 325-695-1655, or email me at debranewberry@netscape.net.

Midland and Lubbock areas

We are the Welchs - Paul, Susie and Jaceson. Our son Jaceson is Deaf Blind Multihandicapped. Jaceson is twenty-four years old and lives at home with us in a small town in West Texas called Big Spring. Jaceson attended school in Big Spring. He volunteers at the VA Hospital taking medical records from office to office. He also helps with Bingo on the Nursing Home floor. In his school program he was mainstreamed into several classes, volunteered at the VA Hospital, and learned life skills. He graduated from high school in 2001 with a standing ovation at graduation. Jaceson is well-liked and accepted by his peers. Everywhere you go in town Jaceson is stopped by people he knows from school. Now Jaceson is enrolled in the Deaf-Blind Medicaid Waiver program. He has an intervener who takes him to his activities in the community, and also works with him at home. Having Jaceson and being very involved in his school program made Paul and I take an interest in being a Regional Coordinator for Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas (DBMAT). We work mainly in Region 18 (Midland), but have also volunteered to help anyone in Region 17 (Lubbock) as well. We want to share what we have learned and help parents learn ways to give their son or daughter a more meaningful life.

As a family we do many activities together. We enjoy cooking in our home. We also like to go camping, swimming, fishing, and walking. Jaceson especially likes to go swimming and camping. In October, we attend the DBMAT Family Conference at Camp John Marc and are able to see old friends and make new friends. It really helps to talk with people who understand about our special needs child. Connecting with others really helps. Give us a call at (432) 263-1658, or email pwelch@usaonline.net.

Houston Area

My name is Cyndi Hunley and I am one of the Regional Coordinators from Region 4, Houston, Conroe, Galveston areas. I have been employed for four years with a stock brokerage firm in downtown Houston as the cashier/wire operator. I live in Spring, Texas with my older daughter Amy, 23, and granddaughter Terra, two years old. My younger daughter Bethie, 21, is deaf-blind with severe retardation. Bethie had CMV menigo-encephalitis at 14 months, and again at 18 years old. For the last two years Bethie has lived with her foster mom, which is on a street behind me.

I remember some 20 years ago when the doctors gave me the news that my daughter was severely disabled and how devastated I was. I spent hours on the phone to find help for her, but because of the dual sensory impairments, the doors kept closing. I volunteered two and one-half years ago to be a Regional Coordinator so I could help other parents with resources available for t heir children or for the family. I had learned at my first DBMAT meeting in 1983 that we, the parents, have to teach other parents how to find help for their deaf-blind children, to help them develop to their potential. Call me at (281)821-9005, or e-mail chunley@aol.com.

Other Areas

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