About Deaf-Blindness

The term “deaf – blindness” refers to any combination of vision and hearing losses that impacts an individual’s communication, learning, and/or functioning.  Other terms often used to describe deaf-blindness are “dual sensory impaired” or “dual sensory loss.”  Persons affected by deaf-blindness may or may not be affected by other disabilities.  Regardless of other disabilities, individuals with both hearing loss and vision loss are considered persons with “deaf-blindness.”

Impact of Deaf-Blindness

It is widely accepted that about 80% of what we learn is acquired through vision and another 19% is experienced through hearing.  When these two major channels are affected, development can be impacted in many areas:

  • communication, language, and literacy
  • movement and motor skills
  • cognitive / intellectual development
  • emotional, behavioral, and social skills
  • participation in daily living, including recreation and leisure activities
  • employment and transition to adult life

What is Deaf-Blindness?

Understanding Deaf-Blindness

Chapter 2 “Understanding Deafblindness” from Remarkable Conversations : A Guide to Developing Meaningful Communication with Children and Young Adults who are Deafblind
is available at the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness website.

Borrow the book at the Internet Archive’s Open Library online.

Cover page of Chapter 2 of Remarkable Conversation book by Barbara Miles. Photo shows an adult presenting toys to a smiling girl in an adaptive chair. Chapter topics are listed as: Defining the population 22, A Changing Population of Children 24, Why a categorical definition 24, Challenges shared by people who are deaf-blind 25, Importance of assessment 27, impact of sensory loss es on attachment, communication and concept development 27, Importance of diagnosis and assessment 35, cultural attitudes toward deaf-blindness 35

Identifying Children Who Are Deaf-Blind