DBV members and committee

Deafblind Victoria has about 50 members, all deafblind. Membership is open to any deafblind person who has lived in Victoria. The entire Committee of Management is deafblind. The current Committee members are: Trudy Ryall, Michelle Stevens, Heather Lawson, Jasper Cleland, Alex Sar and Rodney Baskett.

Meet the founders

Heather Lawson – Founding member

Heather Lawson with Prime Minister Julia Guillard

Heather Lawson with Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Hi, I’m Heather.

I have been deaf since birth and started losing my sight as a young adult. I communicate using touch signing. But what I really want you to know about me is that I love to travel; I have been to the US and Cambodia. I have been very lucky to do this. Many deafblind people live in aged or institutional care, many others do not get support to become independent. There are many more things that I would like to do in my life if I can get the right support – particularly tactile Auslan interpreters.

Michelle Stevens – Founding member

Michelle Stevens with her dog Logan

Michelle Stevens with her dog Logan

Hello, I’m Michelle;

I was born with hearing and little sight. I started losing my hearing when I was older. I learnt to play piano as a child, I love music. I live independently in rural Victoria and I am studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree. I use tactile interpreters to help me to communicate. One of my dreams is for more deafblind people to join Deafblind Victoria, and for the group to get some ongoing funding. This would mean DBV could be a truly independent self-advocacy group.

Trudy Ryall – Founding member

Founding member Trudy Ryall

Founding member Trudy Ryall

Hello, I’m Trudy;

I was born with a hearing loss; I lost my vision later in life. I have Ushers Type 2. I have severe hearing loss and tunnel vision, so I still have some vision and hearing. I also lip read and am learning Auslan. I am really passionate about human rights, animals and enjoying life to the full. Before I lost my hearing and vision I was a library technician. I have had many jobs but getting and keeping a job can be really hard for deafblind people. I want to promote the employment of people with a disability, I believe we have a lot to offer.

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