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By Kate Moss, Family Support Specialist, TSBVI, Deafblind Outreach

For a long time now, families have contacted me about wanting to connect with other families. I've heard from many parents who want to talk with another parent whose child has a particular syndrome or condition. Perhaps their son or daughter wants to have a pen pal or they are grandparents wanting to meet other grandparents. Workshops and family retreats are great places for these connections to be made. I also know that some of the SEE/HEAR readers have connected through articles in the newsletter. The new TSBVI Family Discussion Room provides one more option for making connections.

More and more families are getting Internet access at home, at work, or at school. Some folks are even using their public libraries to "surf the net." Many students who are visually impaired or deafblind are learning the computer skills they need to access this new resource in school. So, we decided to add a new space on the TSBVI website for family members to connect with each other. This is an electronic bulletin board, not a chat room. That means that you can post messages for other people to read, and they can respond to you if they like. If you want to have a more direct conversation you can exchange your email address with them for private conversations at a later time. Eventually, if this service is popular, we may have additional boards for specific groups. Some that have been proposed by parents include a board for Usher Syndrome, Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, Siblings, and Teens with Visual Impairments or Deafblindness. We are open to your ideas and suggestions. Let us hear from you.

The Family Discussion Room should be up and running by December, 1998, just in time for the Christmas holidays. Please drop in for a visit and post a message. Simple go to the TSBVI website at <>, click on "Family Discussion Room", and follow the directions.

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