People who know what it takes to create an “Association” from scratch would not believe that, 25 years ago, Deafblind people (who can neither see nor hear) were able to do it.
But we did it, despite being almost totally disconnected from the world around us. But we knew that there were Deafblind associations in some countries, and so we found out how they, and their philosophy, were created. And we realised that it was essential for US, Deafblind people, to create and manage one of our own.
In June 1985, a Deafblind Spanish representative with a guide-interpreter attended the I European Deafblind Conference, where we were amazed to learn how Deafblind people from the Federation of the Swedish Deafblind managed and did everything themselves. We also learnt from their use of guide-interpreters, among many other things, that helped us figure out how we should do things back in our country.
Soon after that, it became clear that the first step to take was to teach professionals, in particular guide-interpreters. Without them, how would we be able to have our board meetings, assemblies, educational activities, leisure activities and so on? And we also found out that it was necessary to look for support and collaboration from organizations such as ONCE or CNSE.
Years passed until we managed to get some support from a number of institutions, most notably ONCE, who opened their doors to Deafblindness. When we saw all the progress we had made, ASOCIDE was founded, and today we are delighted to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
It is not easy to summarise all the history, fight, setbacks and endless patience that took us to where we are now. We did it slowly but surely, and the wonderful participation of our professionals grew step by step at the same time.
1993 was a year that we will forever be in our minds, and so will 2018, when we are excited to celebrate a very special event, our 25th anniversary, which will take place on the 10th of February. This is the reason why Spain – and more specifically our Federation (FASOCIDE) – will host the XI Helen Keller Conference next June. This event will be taking place on the date of the International Day of Deafblind People. All this has led us to our recent audience with H.M. Queen Letizia, to whom we were able to explain our way of living and our needs, and the sensitivity and kindness she showed towards us made us feel understood and gave us great motivation.
We invite you all, Deafblind people, professionals, families and journalists, to join us in celebrating our 25th Anniversary.
Daniel Alvarez Reyes
ASOCIDE’s Honorary President