1 August 2019.

From 12 – 16 August, the Gold Coast, Australia is playing host to over 400 people representing 30 different countries from across the international deafblind community – a condition that impacts almost 500,000 Australians.

Over 400 people from across the international deafblind community will be descending to the Gold Coast, Australia in August to take part in the 17th Deafblind International World Conference.

It is estimated that between 0.2%-2% of the global population are deafblind. That’s between 50,000-500,000 people in Australia.

The Deafblind International World Conference seeks to explore the themes of accessibility, communication and technology for those who are deafblind. As a  leading provider of deafblind services in Australia for over 50 years, we are proud to be hosting this year’s conference. It’s been more than a decade since the World Conference was last hosted in Australia.

Being born partially or totally deaf and blind is an incredibly challenging condition. Many of the accessibility tools that are commonplace today cater to those who are only deaf or blind, not both.

Living as a deafblind person can be a very isolating experience.  A 2018 report prepared by the World Federation of the Deafblind states those who are deafblind are likely to live in poverty and be unemployed, with lower educational outcomes than other persons with disabilities. They face multiple barriers, such as a lack of access to support services and accessible information, which ultimately makes it extremely difficult to voice their issues.

That’s why this conference is so important. It’s our opportunity to show the world the incredible things happening within Australia to support those who are deafblind and show the local deafblind community what’s happening on the world stage when it comes to accessibility, communication and technology. Able Australia is honoured to be hosting the 17th Deafblind International Conference.

Able Australia was formed in 1967 by a passionate and determined group of parents who believed in the potential of their children with deafblindness.