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The Spring Report from the President

21-Mar-2022 6:56 PM | Jacqueline (Administrator)

President's Message, Spring 2022

Spring Greetings to all!

I hope this finds you and your families in good health and looking forward to the spring and summer seasons of 2022. Spring is the perfect time for renewal, budding ideas, and to thank all of you for your continued support of and engagement with NFADB.

Changes to the Board

NFADB began the new year with changes to the board and new and ongoing activities.

Our Vice President, Diana Griffen, stepped down from her position after serving the board for eight years. Her mom, Mary O’Donnell, was one of the founding members of NFADB and it has been an honor and a privilege to work with Diana as she continued her mom’s legacy and passion for the deaf-blind community. We are grateful for her service to our mission and membership and for her lifelong friendship. She will be missed.

NFADB is pleased to announce the following new board positions:

  • Vice President, Donia Shirley (FL)
  • Secretary, Katrina Michael (FL)
  • Board Member, Brandi Hitzelberger (KY)

And beginning in May, NFADB will welcome Kristen Layton, Director of Information, Research and Professional Development for HKNC, who will join the board as a Special Advisor.


In February, NFADB Board members, NFADB Affiliate Network members, and NFADB Ambassadors represented NFAFB at the National Center on Deaf-Blindness 2022 Deaf-Blind Summit on family engagement. 

In March, members of NFADB’s executive committee attended additional Deaf-Blind Summit sessions on access to the general education curriculum.

NFADB has welcomed more than 80 new families from Michigan, thanks to DeafBlind Central, the Michigan deaf-blind project, and we are beginning to work with the Kansas Deaf-Blind Project on ways to support and engage families.

During January and February, the Family Advocacy Training and Education (FATE) project completed Phase II of the pilot year. Kudos to the state and national organizations that came together to train and collaborate to build a national agenda for advocacy on behalf of our deaf-blind community. Three top outcomes from the pilot:

  • Advocacy Ask #1: Require states to include “services to students who are deaf-blind in special education state plans,” via addenda to existing plans and inclusion in future state plans. 
  • Advocacy Ask #2: Require states to develop a Plan for Adults who are deaf-blind to ensure the timely implementation of appropriate services and supports following transition from school to adult life, including but not limited to post-secondary education, the workforce, or other community settings with the goal of living a purposeful life of their choice. 
  • The creation of a Family Advocacy Coalition called Family Advocacy Coalition to Educate for Deaf-Blind (FACE for DB) 

Led by our Outreach Committee, on February 28, we participated via our social media platforms in a celebration of Rare Disease Day. Much gratitude to our members for their engagement and encouragement.

Upcoming Events and Activities

The NFADB Affiliate Committee is providing professional development to the NFADB Affiliate Network, their boards, and membership with a three-part series. If you are involved with one of the NFADB affiliates, please take advantage of this opportunity. 

  • March 28: Leadership Presentation
  • April 25:  Affiliate Sharing-Strategic Planning 
  • May 23: Assisting Family Leaders

The NFADB Policy, Information, and Education (PIE) Committee will host its next Cogswell-Macy Act: A Family Focus Update on March 30 at 7 pm eastern

Beginning in April, our Nominations Committee will announce the commencement of our nomination period for 2022-23. NFADB is looking for members to volunteer on our committees and/or take on specific tasks. Please share your talents and skills with us!

Save the Dates

July 12, 2022: NFADB Annual General Membership Meeting, including the announcement of the first Professional Steve Perreault Award

October 19, 2022: NFADB Annual Deaf-Blind Awareness Event (virtual) hosted by NFADB’s Development Committee

As always, NFADB appreciates our members, and we are here to serve you and your family. 

My best always,

Patti McGowan

NFADB President

OUR MISSION:  NFADB exists to empower the voices of families with individuals who are DeafBlind and advocate for their unique needs.


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