USH Ambassador for Iowa

Laurie McBride

Laurie works as the DeafBlind Specialist (DBS) for the Helen Keller National Center in the state of Iowa. Job development services provided include online job searching skills, support in online job applications, and job interviews, including solving transportation challenges and ensuring reasonable accommodations are provided by employers. Also, as a DBS, she can provide information and resources to family members, employers, and local vocational rehabilitation counselors.

Originally from Ontario, Canada, Laurie worked in Iowa as a graphic designer for almost 20 years. Since 2015, Laurie has worked as a contract trainer with the Helen Keller National Center for the National DeafBlind Equipment Distribution Program (or iCanConnect) providing consumers training in telecommunications equipment, while attending college and university to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Human Service.

Laurie has learned to adapt to different workplace environments with her hearing loss, and now with combined hearing and vision loss. Her experience is a helpful tool in her DBS position which allows her to share examples of successful strategies and tasks that she has accomplished. Her personal experience as a DeafBlind person shows consumers and potential employers that people with vision and hearing loss can live AND WORK in their community. Self-advocacy has been an important tool in finding her own jobs and adapting her career path. Using these personal assets to assist other DeafBlind consumers in finding and retaining employment will result in the right fit for both employee and employer.

Laurie has been involved with the Midwest Transition Institute in 2019 as a Mentor, 2020 Self-Advocacy presenter, and now 2022, part of the National Usher Mentor Pilot Program committee and Lead Mentor, understands the importance of Mentor curriculum needs to be created specifically for DeafBlind individuals on a national level, to be diverse and inclusive within the DeafBlind community.

Contact Laurie at: 

Resources for Iowa

  • This free and confidential registry, maintained by the Usher Syndrome Coalition, is the only registry exclusively for individuals of every age with any type of Usher syndrome, worldwide. By registering, you become part of a growing global community. The registry is our most powerful tool to connect the community, learn about the community, and support research.

  • Program and services for youth and adults with combined vision and hearing loss.

  • Provides free telecommunication evaluation, equipment, and training to children and adults with significant vision and hearing loss who qualify. iCanConnect is a national program authorized under the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program.

  • Serves children and young adults ages birth through twenty-one who are suspected of having both a hearing AND a vision loss or difficulty in processing auditory and visual information. We are dedicated to building the knowledge and skills of all stakeholders involved in the education or parenting of these learners. We believe in using a collaborative, multi-faceted, approach to achieve positive, fulfilling futures for children and youth with deafblindness.

  • This video shows interviews of families of children who are deafblind, as well as 2 adults with Usher syndrome, living in Iowa.

    Meet Rodenna Frank, Usher type 1, at 8:40 into the video
    Meet Laurie McBride, Usher type 2C, at 24:12 into the video

  • A national volunteer organization created to empower the voices of families of individuals who are deaf-blind and to advocate for their unique needs.