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Deafblind Awareness Week: DBA Story: Jael McCoskey

Meet Jael McCoskey, a Deafblind person originally from the United States. Jael is an emerging leader in the Deafblind Community in Australia. Jael is the project officer for the How to Be Seen and Heard program for Deafblind Australia. Here is Jael’s story. When I was first invited to work

Meet Jael McCoskey, a Deafblind person originally from the United States.

Jael is an emerging leader in the Deafblind Community in Australia. Jael is the project officer for the How to Be Seen and Heard program for Deafblind Australia. Here is Jael’s story.

When I was first invited to work as a project officer for Deafblind Australia, I didn’t realize what a humbling and eye-opening experience it would turn out to be.


Traveling to different regions of Australia has given me the real meaning of what the Seen and Heard project’s goal really is – that of making sure that just like anyone else, deafblind individuals have the right to accessible digital access. Every event I facilitated was attended by those hungry for knowledge that would then open the doors of independence and connection.


The energy at these workshops was always one of more. These individuals want so much more. A good example of this was a young lady who made it a point to go to all the events held by DBA in New South Whales. I first met her last November in Newcastle, and have met her twice more again in that city as well as in Sidney. Others asked me after the events to come return to teach them more.


The events were always so well-attended and in some cases, people had to be turned away for budgeting reasons. Imagine being turned away from something you truly believe is a gateway to your independence! I have developed friendships and connections with individuals throughout Australia…from venue staff, interpreters, disability service providers and most importantly, with those who identify as deafblind. Most if not all of these individuals strove to understand the importance of the events Seen and Heard facilitated. If not at the beginning, definitely by the time the event was over. People have left these events feeling included, heard, understood because we strove to make sure that these events were accessible to as many deafblind as possible.


On a personal level, I have been humbled. I genuinely feel like I did meaningful and important work. I feel like I am abandoning people when they are at their most desiring for information from someone such as myself…someone who lives the deafblind life just like them. I hope that something like the Seen and Heard project can be resurrected in the future because this is clearly needed and wanted.

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