JOHNSTON, IOWA (September 28, 2021) — Meet Iowans who face the daily challenges of living DeafBlind and learn about the technology that assists them in Iowa PBS's new documentary. Living DeafBlind in Iowa premieres Monday, October 18, 8PM, on statewide Iowa PBS, iowapbs.org, YouTube, and the PBS Video App.
The program explores how technology plays an essential role in accommodating and empowering DeafBlind people to live, work, and interact in society. Viewers will hear personal accounts from Iowans who face the daily challenges of living DeafBlind: Rodena Frank; Rita and Nathan Fredericks and their son Miles; and Hannah Teed along with her parents, Samantha and Ricky Teed.
"This initiative has been an educational and rewarding experience," said Iowa PBS Senior Producer and Director Andrea Coyle. "Our team has learned so much about the technology, accommodations, and important relationships that allow DeafBlind individuals to thrive and navigate a world built primarily for sighted and hearing people. It demonstrates how important advocacy has been and continues to be for the DeafBlind community."
Living DeafBlind in Iowa was produced in coordination with WNET to expand the impact of its upcoming film, American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller. In 1925, Helen Keller advocated on behalf of Iowa's blind community. Keller and others appeared before the Iowa State Legislature and successfully lobbied for a bill that would result in the Iowa Commission for the Blind. The impact of Hellen Keller's advocacy is still apparent today.
The WNET Group's Community Engagement department also worked with Alabama Public Television, WCNY, WFYI, WGCU Public Media, WQED, WQLN Public Media and WXXI to produce new accessible content for broadcast and digital platforms. Stations worked with local advisors and subject matter experts to create companion content like Living DeafBlind in Iowa.
American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller examines one of the 20th century's human rights pioneers. The new documentary rediscovers the complex life and legacy of the author and activist, who was deaf and blind since childhood. It explores how Keller used her celebrity and wit to advocate for social justice, particularly for women, workers, people with disabilities and people living in poverty. American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller premieres Tuesday, October 19 at 8 p.m. on statewide Iowa PBS, pbs.org, and on the PBS Video App.
In addition to its statewide broadcast, Iowa PBS .1 is available to livestream on iowapbs.org/watch, pbs.org/livestream, the PBS Video App, and YouTube TV. Iowa PBS programs, behind-the-scenes extras, and more can be enjoyed on iowapbs.org, Facebook, and YouTube. Viewers can also stream their favorite shows on demand using the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, and many streaming devices.
Support for Living DeafBlind in Iowa is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.
Support for American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller is provided in part by National Endowment for the Humanities, Arthur Vining Davis, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NEC Foundation of America, The Gibney Family Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, The Better Angels Society including The Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Harris Mathews Charitable Foundation Inc, Irving and Sara Selis Foundation Inc, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Newcastle Foundation Trust, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Dorothy S Koretzky Memorial Fund, and Alice and Jim Hardigg.
Learn more at iowapbs.org.
As Iowa's only statewide television network, Iowa PBS's mission to educate, inform, enrich, and inspire Iowans guides its quality, non-commercial programming that tells Iowa's stories like no one else can. Four statewide, public channels offer programs of lasting value to Iowans, regardless of where they live or what they can afford: Iowa PBS .1, Iowa PBS KIDS .2, Iowa PBS WORLD .3 and Iowa PBS Create .4 on Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; and Channel 36, Red Oak. More information can be found at iowapbs.org.