Upcoming Events

Perspectives on Mental Health Services for Individuals who are DeafBlind: A Webinar Series

Helen Keller National Center is hosting a webinar series on Mental Health services for individuals who are DeafBlind every Wednesday in May 2023. Register today.

A man sits outside on a bench using a braille display. A woman sits on the bench next to him while touching hands with a man standing behind the bench.

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, HKNC is pleased to present a webinar series on improving mental health services for individuals who are DeafBlind in May 2023. Register Today! CEU’s Available.

Mental health support is a critical component of healthy living for all people, including those who are DeafBlind. This webinar series explores important topics in addressing mental health and wellness for individuals who are DeafBlind including:

  • Increasing access to mental health resources and services
  • Awareness and understanding of mental health challenges
  • Understanding the diverse needs of individuals who are DeafBlind and their family members

Training Series Details

When: Every Wednesday in May 2023, 6-8PM EST

Who: See session descriptions for further details.

Where: On Zoom.  Links shared upon registration.

Cost: $50 per session, includes CEU credits
**Fee waived for individuals who are DeafBlind and their family members – please contact Ecoley-brody@helenkeller.org

Accessibility: Sign language interpreters and captions will be available.

This activity is pending approval from the National Association of Social Workers

Questions? Email us at pld@hknc.org

Webinar Information

May 3rd: Access to Mental Health Settings for Individuals with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Time: 6-8PM EST

Target audience: Mental Health Professionals, Community Rehabilitation Providers and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

Presenters: Eleanor Coley-Brody, MSW, LCSW HKNC Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative & Marilyn C. Trader, MSW, HKNC Southeast Regional Representative

Description: Individuals who are DeafBlind are at a greater risk of experiencing a mental health crisis as a result of isolation and significant barriers to mental health services. Join us for a dynamic and informative session designed to help break down those barriers and increase quality and accessibility of mental health services for individuals who are DeafBlind. Professionals will have a chance to learn about the beauty and complexities of individuals who are DeafBlind and how to better serve them.

May 3rd Zoom Registration


May 10th: Considering the DeafBlind Journey: Readiness for Work

Time: 6-8PM EST

Presenters: Cynthia L. Ingraham, EdD, HKNC East Central Regional Representative and Susanne A. Hogan, MA, COMS HKNC California Regional Representative and California Community Services Program (CA-CSP) Coordinator

Target Audience: Mental Health Professionals, Community Rehabilitation Providers and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

Description: Join us as we explore the lived experience and journey that individuals with combined hearing and vision loss go through. We will explore the myriad of factors that impact the individual’s readiness to develop new skills in order to be gainfully employed. These factors are critical to take into consideration when setting up services, such as rehabilitation services.

May 10th Zoom Registration


May 17: Learning from the DeafBlind Person’s Lived Experience

Time 6-8PM EST

Facilitator: Ashley Benton, MSW Deaf/DeafBlind Services Coordinator Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services

Target audience: DeafBlind community, family members, community providers

Description: Join us as we take a peek into the rich and varied lives of individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss. This webinar will be facilitated by Ashley Benton, MSW, former mental health therapist, current Deaf/DeafBlind Services Coordinator in North Carolina and is an individual who is DeafBlind. The panelists will discuss their lived experiences and their journeys.

May 17th Zoom Registration


May 24: Learning from the Loved Ones’ Lived Experience

Time: 6-8pm EST

Facilitator: Lisa Catanzaro, LCSW-R HKNC Supervisor of Rehabilitation Counselors and Clinical Services

Target audience: DeafBlind community, family members, community providers

Description: Join us as we listen and learn about the joys and struggles of family members of individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss. These family members are spouses, parents, siblings, or significant others. Facilitated by HKNC Mental Health Coordinator Lisa Catanzaro, panelists will discuss their lived experiences and life lessons as a family member of an individual with combined hearing and vision loss.

May 24th Zoom Registration


May 31: Intersectionality of Mental Health and DeafBlind Interpreting

Time: 6-8pm EST

Presenters: Sereta Campbell, RID, QMHI-S and Amanda G. Somdal, LCSW, LICSW

Target Audience: Sign Language Interpreters who plan to or currently work with individuals who are DeafBlind in Mental Health Settings

Description: Interpreting between Deaf and hearing communities has many layers and more complicated when you consider individuals who are DeafBlind. This session will present a variety of communication techniques for individuals who are DeafBlind and considerations to attend to while working with these individuals. This presentation is expanding our metalinguistic skills in recognizing the difference between community and mental health interpreting to ensure competent services.

May 31st Zoom Registration



Marilyn Trader, MSW

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Marilyn Trader is the Southeast Regional Representative covering Kentucky, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee. Her experience related to this field includes acting as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for DeafBlind consumers under the Division of Services for the Blind in North Carolina and a Mental Health Social Worker for the Deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind in North Carolina for 10 years under Wake County Mental Health Services. Prior to moving to North Carolina, she worked at Gallaudet University in the Graduate School Office, and as a lobbyist in Washington DC with guidance from staff at the university and across the country, presenting at universities all over the United States on cultural diversity inclusion programs.

Marilyn attended Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a concentration in Political Science. She attended Gallaudet University with a master’s degree in Social Work with a focus on the DeafBlind Community.

A goal of Region 4B is to continue to build capacity in each state through interagency collaboration, joint projects, events and new programs that consumers can obtain within their home state. Programs range from Support Service Providers to the expansion of field services to enable consumers to reach their goals.

Susanne A. Hogan, MA, COMS

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Susanne A. Hogan joined the HKNC family in April 2004. Since joining the family, she worked in various roles while attending Hunter College in New York to earn her dual master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility/Rehabilitation Teaching. In 2013, Susanne pursued employment on the west coast where she continued her work with individuals who are DeafBlind for 6 years. In 2019, Susanne returned to HKNC as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Assistive Technology Specialist with HKNC’s Region 9 California Community Services Program. In 2021, Susanne was promoted to Regional Representative for California/CA CSP Coordinator.

Not only has Susanne provided O&M services through HKNC, she also assisted in coordinating a statewide SSP/CoNavigator program and case management services in Albuquerque, NM with DeafBlind and Deaf Plus individuals. She is collaborating with the individuals who are DeafBlind in California in their efforts to establish a statewide CoNavigator program.

Cynthia L. Ingraham, EdD

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Cynthia L. Ingraham is currently a Regional Representative for Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) and has been with the organization for the past 33 years.  She has authored numerous monograph chapters on transition issues for youth with sensory disabilities and more than two dozen articles on the education and rehabilitation needs of consumers with physical and sensory disabilities.  In her spare time, Dr. Ingraham, volunteers with New Life, Inc., a wheelchair sports program for youth with physical disabilities in the Metro Washington, D.C. area, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, and aging-in-place programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region.  She also serves as a freelance writer for About Time Magazine, Inc., based in Rochester, New York where she writes on social and educational issues within the African American Community.

Eleanor Coley-Brody, MSW, LCSW

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Eleanor Coley-Brody joined the HKNC family in May 2016 as a Case Manager and became the Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative in February 2021.

Eleanor Coley-Brody is a Deaf professional from Long Island, NY and has been working in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind field for over 10 years. She earned her M.S.W. in Social Work from Gallaudet University with a specialization in School Social Work and received a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from SUNY New Paltz. Prior to HKNC, she was a Mental Health Therapist and provided counseling services to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind youth and adults in the state of Minnesota.

Eleanor is eager to provide support to individuals who are DeafBlind, families and state partners in New York and New Jersey.

Ashley Benton, MSW

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Ashley Benton, MSW is an advocate with more than 20 years of experience in providing a wide array of services to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind communities.  She has been recognized for outstanding leadership and service within these communities.  Ms. Benton is currently the Deaf/DeafBlind Services Coordinator and a member of the Executive Program Coordination Team with the NC Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH). Prior to joining DSDHH, she was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Mental Health and Substance Abuse therapist.  She is DeafBlind with Usher Syndrome and communicates using tactile American Sign Language, ProTactile and Haptics. Ms. Benton received her MSW with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind specialty certification from East Carolina University.  Her experience includes serving as director of the NC Deaf-Blind Associates (NCDBA) DeafBlind Weekend at Camp Dogwood, board member of DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA), long-time representative of the Deaf and DeafBlind communities on the NC Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, board member of the NC Interpreter and Transliterator Licensing Board, member of the National Task Force on DeafBlind Interpreting and serving as coordinator of the AADB Mentoring Pilot Project.  Ms. Benton grew up on a farm in eastern NC, is married to a sign language interpreter and has a teenage son. She enjoys reading, socializing with friends, and riding her tandem bike.

Lisa Catanzaro, LCSW-R

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Lisa Catanzaro, LCSW-R received her Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York.  She is currently the Supervisor of Rehabilitation Counselors and Clinical Services at Helen Keller National Center.  Lisa has worked in the field of DeafBlindness for over 30 years.  Her passion for the field developed initially as a volunteer at HKNC and continued to evolve throughout the years.  She then held many positions within the agency ranging from an instructor in various departments to case management.  Her current position affords her the opportunity to be involved in the journey of individuals who are DeafBlind. In addition, Lisa provides private psychotherapy services on Long Island, NY.

Sereta Campbell, CI/CT, QMHI-S

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Sereta Campbell, CI/CT, QMHI-S, serves as the State Interpreter Coordinator for the Office of Deaf Services with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Prior to her current position, she served as the Region II Interpreter Coordinator for the Alabama Department of Mental Health Office of Deaf Services.  Originally from Virginia, Sereta comes by way of Illinois, with several stops along the way including Oregon, Minnesota, and Kentucky.  Sereta spent the first part of her career in post-secondary educational settings including New River Community College in Virginia, Virginia Tech and the University of Minnesota.  For the past several years she has spent her time working within state government agencies serving Deaf individuals.  Sereta previously served on the board of the Alabama Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, has been recognized as Interpreter of the Year for both the Council of Alabamians Serving Deaf Alabamians (COSDA) and the South East Regional Institute on Deafness (SERID).  She was previously an approved Local Test Administrator (LTA) for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and is recognized as a Qualified Mental Health Interpreter Practicum Supervisor.

Amanda G. Somdal, LCSW, LICSW

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Amanda G. Somdal is a licensed clinical social worker, licensed in Alabama and California. She’s a Deaf Therapist for the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Office of Deaf Services – serving the southeast area of Alabama.  Amanda has worked with the Deaf community for over 25 years in providing individual and family therapy specializing in deaf batterers, deaf mental health, and sexual assault survivors.  Amanda served on several boards such as the Advocacy Council for Abused Deaf Children, and the Association of Batterer’s Intervention Programs. Amanda loves giving workshops on a wide range of issues from mental health issues, self-harm, sexual assault, and domestic violence to deaf culture and mental health interpreting.  Amanda graduated from California State University, Northridge, and Gallaudet University. She has an awesome partner and two young men that put grey in her hair and laughter in her heart.