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DeafBlind Ontario Services has joined a global campaign to build awareness about people who are deafblind by engaging in “yarn bombing” or tactile art installations for the month of June.

Yarn bombing is an activity that takes knitted, crocheted or loomed squares of yarn and attaches them to objects or structures in public places as a form of street art. Spearheaded by Deafblind International, this initiative is uniting countries around the world to build a better understanding about persons who are deafblind.

Man wearing blue shirt holding a loom of yarnFor Steve, who is deafblind and communicates using Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ), contributing to this awareness initiative has been a great experience for him. With LSQ, which is used primarily in Francophone communities, meaning is conveyed through signs that are comprised of specific movements and shapes of the hands and arms, eye, face, head and body posture.

Steve enjoys the tactile element to knit using different yarn textures while also exploring the interesting variety of colours available. Although he knits independently, his process begins with his intervenor helping enter the needle at the starting point. Working on a knitting project keeps Steve calm and focused and he admits that he has a lot of fun with it.

With June designated as National Deafblind Awareness Month across Canada, individuals who receive supports and services from DeafBlind Ontario Services are joining friends, families, knitting clubs and community members across the province on a virtual scale to yarn bomb in various communities. June is the birth month of Helen Keller, one of the most internationally recognized people with deafblindness.

At a time with many of us are experiencing increased feelings of isolation, for the over 1% of Canadians who are deafblind, the pandemic has had an even stronger effect by placing limits on their efforts to communicate, whether it is to express themselves, engage with their social networks or even participate actively in their communities.

Yarn bombing has been a unique way to connect people virtually to express themselves through their yarn creations and share their efforts on social media.

Roxanna Spruyt, CEO of DeafBlind Ontario Services notes that: “yarn bombing offers a great way to safely draw attention to our awareness efforts, especially for those who do not know anything about deafblindness.”

To help spread awareness, community objects and landmarks across Canada were yarn bombed throughout the month of June. This initiative symbolizes the coming together of people in the field of deafblindness with the goal of sparking conversations about the experience of and need for appropriate services for individuals who are deafblind.

DeafBlind Ontario Services has yarn bombed the following locations across Ontario:

  • Trees at Township Hall, Notre-Dame Street, Russell
  • Columns and Balusters, Innisfil ideaLab & Library, 967 Innisfil Beach Road, Innisfil
  • Gazebo, Jackson’s Point Parkette, 21093 Dalton Road, Georgina
  • Railings and metal pillars, Guy Lombardo Pavilion, Spring Bank Gardens, 285 Wonderland Road South, London in collaboration with CNIB Deafblind Community Services
  • Fence, North Dumfries Community Complex, 2958 Greenfield Road, Ayr

Landmarks across Canada were also be lit up in blue to commemorate June as National Deafblind Awareness Month.

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