In recognition of their dedication to the international deafblind community, Perkins School for the Blind has presented three individuals with the prestigious Anne Sullivan Macy Medal.
Martha Majors of Perkins School for the Blind, Gillian Morbey of Sense International and Irina Salomatina of Usher-Forum accepted their awards at the 16th World Conference of Deafblind International in Bucharest, Romania.
They join an impressive group of past medal-winners that includes former U.S. President George Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, as well as U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The medal has been awarded since 1966 to individuals and groups around the world who have worked to break down barriers facing people who are deafblind.
Majors, the assistant education director of Perkins Deafblind Program, has spent the last 40 years becoming an expert in deafblindness and CHARGE syndrome through her work as a teacher, lecturer and mentor to educators. She has traveled extensively on behalf of Perkins International, training teachers in Africa, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and Asia.
“Martha was among the first to appreciate that there was more to it than academics,” said Perkins President and CEO Dave Power, who presented the awards. “She understood that students with deafblindness needed to learn many other skills that would be important for them to become as independent as possible.”
Morbey, a long-time partner of Perkins, has dedicated 30 years to the field of deafblindness. In 1985, she founded Sense Scotland, an organization that works with people who require communication support. She is currently CEO of Sense International, a global charity based in the United Kingdom that serves people who are deafblind in countries all around the world. In 2011, she was elected president of Deafblind International.
“Colleagues know Gillian for her authenticity, her natural rapport with deafblind people and her apparently instinctive ability to see into the heart of people and situations,” said Power.
Salomatina is the director of Usher-Forum, a charitable organization in Moscow that supports people with Usher syndrome who are deafblind. She has worked at the Institute of Correctional Pedagogic since 1994, and has published extensively in the field of deafblindness, particularly on research related to Usher syndrome and socio-psychological support for deafblind children, adults and their families.