23-27 November 2019

2nd International Young Reseachers Conference on deafblindness

This year the conference will be held at the amazing and cultural capital of Russia – Saint Petersburg.

The conference is a big event for talented students, graduate students and young scientists from Europe, Asia, America and Russia who are interested in research issues related to dual sensory impairment/deafblindness.

The main aim of the conference

The main aim of the conference is to give the opportunity to young scientists within the field of deafblindness to share experiences and to help create an international network of young scientists in working towards interdisciplinary research to meet the demand of challenges in the field of deafblindness.

  • Students and young scientists from all over the world will be able to give presentations and to share their research work on that involve different clinical, theoretical and practical issues related to help people with dual sensory impairment/deafblindness.
  • All participants are invited to the plenary lectures of well-known researchers within the field of deafblindness.
  • All participants will have the opportunity to meet with adults with deafblindness and parents of children with dual sensory impairment/deafblindness. This will give both researchers and practitioners a better understanding of the needs which are related to deafblindness.

How it was last year

Here you can see how it was last year.

Scientific Committee

Frank Kat


15 years of experience in the field of Deafblindness, working with a very wide range of people and organisations, mainly education, but also research and care. Frank has worked internationally, as a member of the Board of Deafblind International and being active as treasurer and Vice president of DBI. He has been the director the Deafblindness Centre of Excellence of Royal Dutch Kentalis in the Netherlands. Frank has a special focus on the development of children and information and communication technology.

Dr. Jude Nicholas


Сlinical neuropsychologist and consultant psychologist attached at Haukeland University Hospital and at Statped Vest center for special needs education in Bergen, Norway. He has some 25 years of clinical and research experience working with children and adults with sensory impairment, including persons with congenital and acquired deafblindness. He has a longstanding interest in syndromes with sensory impairments, and his current research investigates the neuropsychological functions of tactile cognitions, particularly in persons with deafblindness. Dr. Nicholas is a member of the Norwegian professional team involved in the identification and diagnosing of deafblindness. He was the chair of the scientific committee for the 9th European conference on Deaflindness in Aalborg, Denmark in 2017.

Jerry G. Petroff


PhD Professor at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), School of Education in the Department of Special Education, Language and Literacy. His experience working on behalf of students, youth and adults with disabilities and their families spans several decades. Holding a doctorate in psychological studies in special education, and a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology, he has developed expertise in inclusive education, early communication, social network development, assistive technology (augmentative and alternative communication), and the transition of students with disabilities from school to adult life. Dr. Petroff’s specific focus for the past 40 years has been in the area of development and education of infants, children and youth with deafblindness. More recently, he has worked under the mentorship of the late Dr. Jan van Djik in development of materials associated with Child-Guided Assessment; conducting research regarding fathers of children who are deafblind; and the pos-school lives of youth with deafblindness. In addition, Dr. Petroff is the Executive Director of TCNJ's Center for Sensory & Complex Disabilities, which is a technical assistance, training and research institute dedicated to topics related to individuals who are deaf, blind and deafblind.

Susan Bruce


Susan Bruce, Ph.D. is a Professor and Department Chair of Teacher Education, Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College. Susan’s primary research interests are communication/language/literacy development and assessment in learners with multiple disabilities, especially learners who are deafblind. She has published 32 peer-reviewed articles that are specifically about research in deafblindness, including collaborative and participatory action research studies. Additional publications are in the fields of severe and multiple disabilities, visual impairments, and deafness/hard of hearing with additional disabilities.

Andrea Wanka


Dr. phil., Сomissioner for Deafblindness at the stiftung St. Franziuskus Heiligenbronn. She is mostly working with congenital deafblind, but has also specific knowledge and experience on acquired deafblindness. In her PhD she analysed early parent-child-interactions with children with CHARGE Syndrome, since then she is focusing on CHARGE Syndrome in her work. She got the Young Professional Leadership Award from DbI. She published five books on CHARGE Syndrome in German language, one in English language and on in German language on Usher Syndrome.

Alina Khokhlova


Assistant professor in Moscow State University of Psychology and Education. Psychologist in Deafblind Support Resource Center. About 15 years worked as a psychologist in the School for the Deaf, Home Department for children with multiple disabilities. Has more then 25 publications in Russian. Main topics are cognitive development of the Deaf, sign language and communication, communication in families with deaf and deafblind children.

Saskia Damen


Works as an assistant professor special needs education/deafblindness at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Dr. Damen also works as a senior researcher at Royal Dutch Kentalis and is a core project member of the National Resource Center Deafblindness in the Netherlands. She has over 20 years of work experience in the field of multiple disabilities and deafblindness and has published several articles, books and book chapters.

Darija Udovicic Mahmuljin


Regional Director Europe & Eurasia at Perkins International. Has over 20 years of experience of working in the field of multiple disabilities, visual impairment and deaf blindness. She is an experienced director with a history of international activities, leading projects and research. Darija has extensive knowledge and experience in deafblindness and multiple disability assessment, early intervention and educational programs. She has established program that provides highly specialized and comprehensive services to children with visual impairments and other multiple disabilities as well as deaf blind children and young adults. Until recently she has been a director of that program - Mali dom – Zagreb that is nowadays regional resource center providing education for other professionals in the fields and carrying out number of research projects where professionals from different scientific and academic background work together on different range of topics related to the improvement of the education and rehabilitation of infants, children and young adults with neurodevelopmental delays, sensory impairment, deafblindness and multiple disabilities.


23, 24 November – Pre Conference for young people with deafblindness (under 40 y.o.)
25 November – Conference Opening Ceremony and Teambuilding.
26, 27 November – Professionals’ days for Young Researchers.

Register Now – Pre Conference

23-25 November.
No registration fee for delegates.

Register Now – Professional’s Days

25-27 November.
Registration fee is 100 Euro, includes:
• Conference Bag and Program;
• Coffee-breaks and lunches;
• Access to conference proceedings after the event.

Pay the fee:

Venue and Hotels

Information about conference venue and nearby hotels will be availlable soon.



The Russian Deafblind Support Foundation «Con-nection»



in collaboration with



The Deafblind Support Resource center «Yaseneva Polyana»


Deafblind Academy «Con-nection»



Project manager Julia Mayorova

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Travel-coordinator Katerina Yaritskaya

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