By: Carmen Willings
Deafblindness refers to a combination of hearing and vision loss. Most students who are deafblind are not completely deaf or blind, but have some degree of hearing and vision loss. The combined effects of the two sensory losses can have a very significant affect on the student's learning.
There is an added challenge for students who are deafblind to make sense of their world. As with other areas of visual impairments, it is essential to maximize the students use of their remaining hearing and vision, along with other senses and provide concrete methods of communicating in order to help them gain information and learn about their world.
Types of Auditory Impairments
Degrees of hearing loss
Forms of Communication
There are different forms of communication that a student who is deafblind may use. The Hearing Impairment Teacher and/or Speech and Language Pathologist will provide input in selecting a method for communication. The method may be modified over time as the student's developmental level changes or if there is a change in the students hearing or vision. The following are the primary communication options:
Total communication includes the use of any form of communication that is appropriate in meeting the unique needs of the student in a given situation, including signs, finger spelling, speech, speech reading, and amplification. If the student demonstrates strengths in using hearing and/or touch to communicate, the following are options:
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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Combined hearing and vision los is considered to be a low incidence disability which means that only small number of persons are deafblind. This page provides a list of deaf-blind resources that are available online as well as book resources.
Signing Savvy is a great web resource to use with students who are learning sign. It provides a searchable web dictionary and a video of how to sign the word or phrase!