Community and Science Bolster Lives of Deaf-Blind in Acadiana

Dan Arabie at home in Lafayette.

By Phyllis Baudoin Griffard of 64 Parishes Magazine

Advances in genetics provide new hope for Acadiana’s close-knit population of Usher’s syndrome carriers. By many estimates, Acadiana has the largest population of citizens with Usher syndrome in America and second largest in the world. Usher syndrome is a genetic form of deaf-blindness. This group of Cajuns has never heard a fiddle waltz or a word of French, and they are slowly losing their vision because of a genetic quirk that came here with the first Acadians in the 1700s.