Tactile language spoken

Aalborg water front

Aalborg Music House

Aalborg Kongres & Kultur Center - AKKC

Smiling child with congenital deafblindness

Aalborg water front

Smiling young man with congenital deafblindness

Aalborg Kongres & Kultur Center - AKKC

Person with acquired deafblindness climbing a wall

Meet our plenary speakers


Scott Davert


Afternoon Plenary on Tuesday, September 5th

Technology according to social connectedness

Scott Davert has two passions in life: reading and technology. He works as a deaf-blind specialist in North Carolina and advocates for the rights of people with deafblindness, assisting in all aspects of quality of life.

Scott has finished his studies in Psychology & Sociology and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. He previously worked at the Helen Keller National Centre. Scott has published articles on various forms of technology and services for people with combined vision and hearing loss.

Read more about Scott Davert (Word document opens)

Torbjörn Svensson


Machteld Cossee

The Netherlands


Afternoon Plenary on Tuesday, September 5th

Identity according to social connectedness: Torbjörn Svensson and Machteld Cossee 

Torbjörn Svensson is 33 years old, a father, lives in Viken, Sweden. He runs the blogg ’Att Leva Med RP’ [Living with RP] where the readers follow his journey in life with the diagnose Ushers syndrome: http://rpblogg.wordpress.com. Torbjörn tells his personal story about how life is with deafblindness, surviving a life crisis and ability to write about yourself, your thoughts and feelings. 




Machteld Cossee is 40 years old, lives in Haarlem, and is a friend, mum, daughter, sister, vitality coach, honest, loyal, social, sportive and a go-getter. Her motto: nothing is what it seems.

Machteld has a rare genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome. She shares this with 400.000 other persons. The disorder gradually changes how she sees and hears. This has changed her life forever. But it also taught her not to judge persons by their appearance.

She starts her own business at her own pace: www.allemaalvitaal.com and www.mamavitaal.com. She likes to be active and enterprising. This is also reflected in sports, like: running, bootcamp, skiing, tandem cycling, sailing, hiking. She is a social, involved person with a high level of empathy. Due to her perseverance and positive attitude, she learned well to deal with her visual and hearing limitations. Down to earth, pragmatic, communicative, solution-oriented, characterize her.

Rasmus Munk Pedersen



Afternoon Plenary on Tuesday, September 5th

How talking tactile with more than one gives access to social connectedness

Rasmus Munk Pedersen is 21 years old, lives in Aalborg, Denmark. Rasmus has a combined vision and hearing loss, but enjoys listening to music, birds, airplanes and trucks. The project Rasmus want to tell you about, is about how three parts conversation through tactile sign language helped him to connect to a new person his my life.
Read more about Rasmus Munk Pedersen (Word document opens)


Karine Vassbotn Hestholm


Grzegorz Kozłowski




Afternoon Plenary on Wednesday, September 6th

A personal story from two persons with acquired deafblindness on the importance of the sense of touch: Karine Vassbotn Hestholm and Grzegorz Kozłowski

Karine Vassboth Hestholm is a young woman living with acquired deafblindness. She is a physiotherapy student and will tell us about the importance of the sense of touch in her everyday life.
Read more about Karine Vassboth Hestholm (Word document opens)

Grzegorz Kozłowski is the chairman of the Association for the Welfare for the Deafblind. Together with his wife, creator and co-organizer of the retreat and pilgrimage for the deafblind. Grzegorz participates in various working groups and expert committees, working in the area of inclusion of persons with disabilities as well as expert in the field of accessibility of public and social space for people with sensory disabilities.
Read more about Grzegorz Kozłowski (Word document opens)




Grete A. Steigen



Kari Schjøll Brede


Afternoon Plenary on Wednesday, September 6th

A personal story from a parent/professional working with people with congenital deafblindness on the importance of the sense of touch in developing communication, reducing social isolation and improving social connections: Grete A. Steigen and Kari Schjøll Brede.

Grete A. Steigen is a farmer and a tourist host living in Sømådalen, Norway. She is a parent and the mother of Tormod who is 29 years and has CHARGE syndrome. She has been active in help building the professional networks around Tormod, and she has been involved in the parental and family networks for people with congenital deafblindness. She has been the host of art courses addressing the specific needs and interests of persons with congenital deafblindness for several years as well as being a main contributor for the DbI Outdoor activity week in 2013 and 2015.

Kari Schjøll Brede works as a Supervisor at Eikholt National Resource Centre for the Deafblind, in Norway. She has a master's degree in communication and deafblindness from the University of Groningen. She is professionally involved in the topic of tactile communication and congenitally deafblindness and her main interest is outdoor activity with persons with deafblindness. Kari is also trained as an interpreter for deaf and deafblind. Kari is a parent of a young woman with dual sensory impairment.


Liz Duncan
United Kingdom

Sanja Tarczay


Afternoon Plenary on Thursday, September 7th

Personal stories and the relation to deafblindness: Liz Duncan and Sanja Tarczay

Liz Duncan has over 20 years of experience in the field of Acquired Deafblindness, working with a very wide range of people and organisations, from individuals, other professional professionals through to Government departments, where she has contributed to policy and practise development nationally.

Liz has worked internationally, delivering training programmes, supporting practise development and advising NGO's and Governments. She has contributed to the Deafblind Studies Programme in the U.K. as a writer, Tutor and Mentor and is now working as a Freelance Consultant.

Liz has been involved in the international Acquired Deafblindness network since its beginnings and has Chaired the Network since 2011.


Sanja Tarczay is the president of the European Deafblind Union. In 1994, Sanja established the Croatian Association of Deafblind Persons – Dodir- where she is currently the President. She is creator of several courses and the founder of Croatian Sign Language Interpreting Centre and is herself fluent in five sign languages.

Sanja Tarczay is an active lecturer at universities in her home country and abroad. She has published several expert and research papers and earned her Doctorate degree in 2014 with the thesis “Meeting Challenges – Deafblind Interpreting From a User’s Perspective”. Sanja’s work has been repeatedly recognized and she has received numerous awards and honours.

Read more about Sanja Tarczay


Ole E. Mortensen
Communication consultant
CFD, Denmark


The conference moderator

Ole E. Mortensen is the Communication consultant at CFD, Denmark’s largest provider of services for deaf and deafblind people, and project coordinator at the National Resource Centre on Deafblindness in Sweden. Previously I worked for 11 years at the Information Centre on Acquired Deafblindness in Denmark.