Florida Division of Blind Services logo


Public Forum (Thursday, April 18, 2013)

Embassy Suites
1100 SE 17th Street
Ft. Lauderdale

Bruce Miles, Chair called the meeting to order at 4:05 PM.

Council Members Present:  Bruce Miles, Paul Edwards, Andrew Raines, Vicky Magliocchino, Christopher White,  Joe Minichiello, Donté Mickens, Sheryl Brown,  Sandra Martin, Lenora Marten, Leanne Grillot, Gloria Mills, Ted Hull, Patricia Liposky  and  Aleisa McKinlay, Interim Director. 

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff:  Antionette Williams, Patrick Regalado

Interpreters:  Christie Cohn and Jodi Raffoul

Eighteen consumers were in attendance.

First consumer Comments:

  • He is in regular classes at Florida State College Jacksonville
  • Every time he tried to apply for the next semester he was told he had to wait until he finished the semester and by then the classes were full.


Ms. Williams asked him to give her his contact info and she would speak with him in more detail later.

Second Consumer Comments:

  • She reminded everyone that she’s not blind, not deaf, but deaf-blind.
  • She thanked the Council for advocating for the blind-deaf.


Ms. Magliocchino stated that there was a Florida Deaf-Blind Association met last week stressing the importance of having better services for deaf-blind.

Third Consumer Comments:

The consumer was very emotional and wasn’t able to speak.

Fourth Consumer Comments:

  • DBS paid for her to learn American Sign Language
  • She has been a client of DBS for 27 years.
  • In 1986 she was working and had to give up driving and use a cane.
  • By 2007 she finished college and was ready to go to work.
  • In 2008 she lost her peripheral vision and fell through the cracks.
  • By 2009 she was very stressed, frustrated and angry.
  • She and her DBS Counselor clashed.
  • She found out about the Deaf-Blind Association and went to Helen Keller for 8 months.
  • Now she and her Counselor are learning about deaf-blind together.
  • She stressed there was a need for a job placement specialist to help deaf-blind get a job.


Ms. Williams will have the Daytona Beach DA get in touch with her.  She stated that DBS and DVR should, and would, work on better ways to assist her. 

Fifth Consumer Comments:

  • She stated that when the District Office moved nothing was sent out notifying clients and consumers.
  • She suggested putting this type of information in the Talking Book Newsletter.
  • She stated there should be more accountability with the Lighthouses contacting clients when they receive referrals.


Ms. Williams stated she would ask Mr. Regalado to make sure notification has been sent out to appropriate individuals.

Ms. Brown stated that she would get with the Lighthouse’s Executive Director concerning referrals.  She will also bring it up at the next FAASB meeting.

Sixth Consumer Comments:

  • His 22 year old daughter is in a program at the Lighthouse.
  • His daughter graduated from FSDB with a special diploma.
  • His daughter is having trouble with Transportation to the Lighthouse.
  • His daughter wants to go to work.
  • He stated that New Jersey State gives more assistance than Florida.
  • He stated that they try to contact people and never get answers.
  • His daughter really doesn’t want to go to the Lighthouse.
  • His daughter needs a Braille Note taker and training for the Computer.


Ms. William asked Mr. Regalado to work with him and his daughter to get what is necessary for her to be successful.  She informed him the Rehab Center could assist with training for independent living skills, mobility instructions, etc.  She stated that the Conklin Center could also provide training.  She suggested he should contact DVR to find out why her case was closed.

Seventh Consumer Comments:

He’s from Boynton Beach.
He has a Bachelor Degree in social work.
He has been trying for 5 years sending out resumes.
He’s been doing a lot of volunteer work.
He has a job coach at Goodwill he’s pleased with.
He wants to know how he would go about starting his own business.


Ms. Williams suggested he get with his Counselor to help with the process to complete a business plan; and if it is a viable business then DBS would assist him.

Eighth Consumer Comments:

  • She’s from West Palm Beach and also spoke at the public forum in Boca in 2009 about deaf-blind.
  • She has been with DBS for 4 years.
  • She has Usher Syndrome with 75% loss in both ears.
  • She begin losing her reading vision in 2001
  • She had no idea what a deaf-blind was until 3 years ago.
  • She stated that information is lacking if you don’t have a deaf-blind person working with you.
  • She stated that there are no two deaf-blind alike.
  • She stated that her part-time job did not fall in the perimeters of competitive or gainful employment.
  • She emphasized the need to have a deaf-blind specialist within DBS and DVR

Ninth Consumer Comments:

He’s a client of DBS and DVR.
He wants to get a job and be self-sufficient.
He has a Special Diploma and wants to get a GED and go on to College.
He’s been bounced between DVR and DBS for the past year and half.
He wants to go to Helen Keller.


Ms. Williams asked Mr. Regalado to set up a call with the client, DBS, DVR and the Conklin center to see how they can work together jointly to see if going to Helen Keller is a viable option.  She stated that he needed to be very clear if employment is what he wanted versus going to school. 

Mr. McKinlay stated that the place to start with getting a Deaf-Blind Commission is a matter that should be taken up with the local elected officials because they are the ones with the power to do something, not DVR or DBS.  She stated that she will make an effort to work with DBS and working with the deaf-blind.

Tenth Consumer Comments:

  • He is an advocate for the deaf-blind.
  • He stated that there was a major problem with transportation in Palm Beach County.
  • He would like someone to go with him to a meeting of the Board of Commissioners concerning transportation issues.

Eleventh Consumer Comments:

  • She stated that deaf-blind are often missing information about job opportunities.
  • She stated that the DVR website has services for deaf-blind listed.
  • She suggested that DBS mention services to deaf-blind services also.

Public Forum adjourned at 5:45 PM