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The International Day of People with Disabilities is annually observed on December 3rd to promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities, the respect for rights of people with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

On this occasion we are publishing the welcome speech of the president of The Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN, Mr. Janko Plesec.

The International Day of People with Disabilities is also an opportunity to look back on a year that is slowly coming to an end and to review what we have achieved together in The Association DLAN in the field of deafblindness and for the benefit of people with deafblindness (you can read more about individual projects by clicking on the blue coloured links in the text).

People with deafblindness are daily involved in various supportive forms of individual assistance and guided activities in co-financed programs: Personal assistance, Training, and social rehabilitation, Monitoring and interpretation, Training for the deafblind and volunteers, Reducing social exclusion, Special information and publishing activities for people with deafblindness and their relatives, Family self-help group, Expert deafblind counseling, and advocacy. The programs Individual development of ways of communication with deafblind and Professional assistance to people with age-related deafblindness are also implemented.

The Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2020.

The mission of The Association DLAN is empowering people with deafblindness to enter the world more fully and equally. A world that understands and accepts them easier. Even during the government’s measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, all professional workers and coworkers sought to carry out the mission of the organization and searched for ways and means to help people with deafblindness.

During the spring quarantine, we carried out the project »How People with Deafblindness Spend their Days in the Quarantine« in order to inform, motivate and encourage them. Many people with deafblindness responded to the initiative with their letters, photos and calls, and we shared their stories on the website and on Facebook with the other members and the general public. The articles show that they spent their days baking, cooking, creating art and music, taking walks, biking, climbing, spring gardening, creating from paper and wood, sculpturing, knitting, making masks, filming vlogs … The diverse activities of people with deafblindness express a great deal of creativity, perseverance, adaptability, dedication, talent, courage and can be an inspiration and encouragement to all of us. We also think that it is very important to inform the professional public about the obstacles that people with deafblindness face even during these extraordinary times.

During the spring quarantine, the magazine of The Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN was published, which was received by all members of the association.

The Association DLAN is a provider of personal assistance for people with deafblindness, which is carried undisturbed even during these extraordinary conditions. A personal assistant is often the main source of information, help, support, understanding and help for their user, which is even more important during this quarantine times. The work of personal assistants during this period is especially valuable and needed to take care for physical and mental health of people with deafblindness.

In 2020, we also published leaflets and a brochure about providing personal assistance to people with deafblindness.

In the summer time, when the government measures reduced a bit, we in The Association DLAN dedicated ourselves to prepare for the new, autumn wave of government measures. As part of our activities, with the help of volunteers, we wanted to relieve our members a bit, to cheer them up, restore their will and hope for a better and more positive tomorrow, and above all reassure them that even this situation will pass. When working with people with deafblindness the crucial thing is conversation. A conversation that is based on touch, respect and trust that together we can do more.

Book novelties in The Association DLAN in 2020

In The Assocation DLAN we recognize a great need to raise awareness among professional and general public in the field of deafblindness and work with people with deafblindness. We strive to bring deafblindness closer to the general public through various professional contributions, trainings and performances.

In 2019 a book entitled Stories of People who Listen with Their Heart and See with Their Palms: Living with Deafblindness was published. In 2020 it was translated into Serbian, English and Russian. It has recently become accessible to the blind, as it is also published in Braille, and to the deaf, as it is also published in Slovenian sign language. At this moment individual stories are being translated into German and Hungarian. In this way, we want to achieve the widest possible circle of readers and at the same time, a greater understanding of the needs of people of deafblindness and reduce discrimination. The book has surpassed the Slovenian space and is an example of successful co-creating with people with deafblindness to many around the world. The idea of writing stories of people with deafblindness is already being followed in individual countries with hope that someday this chain will lead to a greater understanding of deafblindness and an improvement of situation in the society for all people with deafblindness.

In 2020 the poetry collection Veseli vandrovček by Janko Plesec was also published. He has become the first person with deafblindness in Slovenia to publish an independent literary work.

The book A Haptic Way of Communication with People with Deafblindness II has just been published, which is a sequel to the book, published last year. A welcome novelty and enrichment of the book are QR codes, which enable viewing of the video of the implementation of haptic signs, and the translation into English. Both books are extremely important in the field of deafblindness, as they represent this kind of communication with people with deafblindness for the first time.

With the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, as The Association DLAN, with the support of Rotary District 1921, Rotary Club Ljubljana – Barje and Lions District 129 Slovenia, we strive to also add in the Constitution the language of the deafblind in addition to Slovenian sign language.