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Resource Centre For Manitobans Who Are Deaf-Blind

As the Coordinator of the Resource Centre for Manitobans who are Deaf-Blind (RCMDB) I would like to tell you a bit about the program we have in Manitoba. I would also like to point out I am a person who is Deaf-Blind myself, as I have Ushers Syndrome. The Resource Centre was opened in 1996. This was a program for which the Manitoba Deaf-Blind Association (MDBA) advocated in order to enable the acquired Deaf-Blind community to receive services.

The Resource Centre is funded by the Government of Manitoba, Department of Family Services and Housing. RCMDB is a consumer driven organization. This means that consumers have a say in the program. There is a "Steering Committee", and members of the MDBA have representatives at these meetings. Meetings are held every other month unless necessary due to unexpected circumstances. There are no meetings in July or August unless an emergency arises, but they resume in September. They are held the first Wednesday of the month. The MDBA General meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month. If the MDBA representatives feel they need to take a decision to their General Membership, this enables them to do so in a timely fashion.

The RCMDB serves adults who are Deaf-Blind due to accident, trauma, disease or condition. RCMDB services may also be extended to family members where the service would benefit the Deaf-Blind individual.

RCMDB's definition of Deaf-Blind is:

A condition which combines any degree of hearing loss with any degree of vision loss and interferes with communication and acquiring information, even though Deaf-Blind persons may still have varying levels of useful hearing or vision.

RCMDB exists to promote opportunities for independence, dignity and empowerment for adults of Manitoba who have become Deaf-Blind. We are committed to providing quality services that are consumer driven and responsive. We provide adaptive/adjustment services that recognize the unique needs of Deaf-Blind people. We are committed to an informed and timely process, the provision of accessible service and the recognition of the individuality and differing needs with in our target population.

We believe all Deaf-Blind people have the right to an independent lifestyle, the right to access opportunities to develop a high quality of life. Adjustment to current opportunities is indicated, and assistance is needed to provide equal access to these opportunities that can and should be available. We also believe community resources can be designed to enable and support Deaf-Blind individuals to realize their full potential.

Independent Interpreter Referral Service (IIRS) provides intervention service to the persons who are Deaf-Blind in Manitoba. A strict code of ethics is followed. This enables a person who is Deaf-Blind to call IIRS and book intervention services for themselves or, in some special circumstances, the Coordinator at RCMDB will book it upon consumer request. Our definition of an intervenor is "a trained professional who acts as the eyes and ears of the person who is Deaf-Blind. An intervenor assists the person who is Deaf-Blind to communicate effectively and access information."

Some of the functions of the Resource Centre are:

  • Teach independent living skills;

  • Provide information regarding Deaf-Blind issues and support services;

  • Provide networking/linking services to existing community resources;

  • Provide consultation to government and community based agencies;

  • Provide public education to sensitize government and community groups to specific needs of the Deaf-Blind population;

  • Work as partners with the government to affect change in public policy and programs to accommodate the needs of the Deaf-Blind community;

  • Provide volunteers;

  • Publish a newsletter to keep clients and interested parties up to date on resources and issues of concern to the Deaf-Blind community.

If you would like more information on RCMDB contact:

RCMDB 285 Pembina Hwy Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 2E1 Phone: (204) 284-2531 TTY Or through MRS 1-800-855-0511 (voice) Fax: (204) 452-0688 E-mail: RCMDB@MTS.NET Check out our accessible website: