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Haben Girma – First Deafblind Harvard Law Student Graduate

In late 2013, Haben Girma graduated as the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School.

Haben and her guide dog, Maxine, had to navigated their way around the campus from an off-campus apartment.  One of her biggest challenges was that she had to develop her own strategies to support her studies.  The biggest of these involved the use of technology.  Haben received all her readings in digital format and either listened to them on her computer or read them on a Braille display.  Haben used her amplification set for quiet conversation but classes required “transliterators” (individuals would stand at the back of the class and would narrate the discussion for her; their voices would be transmitted through a microphone to her ears).  In very noisy, but more social settings, Haben uses a Bluetooth keyboard attached to her Braille display – people can type sentences and the words pop up for Haben to read.

Haben Girma with her guide dog, Maxine Photo by: Kathleen Dooher