What is Deafblindness?
Deafblindness is a loss in both the vision and hearing senses. This condition affects over 12,000 children between birth and 21 years of age in the United States. Deafblindness has over 70 known causes; however, regardless of the cause, the challenges of deafblindness are life long. Appropriate education must address both the hearing and vision impairments as well as any other disabilities that may be present.
Children who are deafblind may exhibit a wide range of behaviors during interactions with family, friends and their environment as a result of the sensory losses. The losses may occur in varying degrees and a child need not exhibit all of the behaviors identified on this web page to be considered deafblind. For example, a child may show only one of the behaviors that indicates a hearing impairment; but show several of the behaviors that indicate a vision impairment. The combined effects of both of these sensory losses, even if both are mild, may qualify him or her as deafblind.
Parents and professionals, upon observing these behaviors, may need assistance in confirming the sensory loss. This web page provides general information on deafblindness. Contacting the Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project is the first step in securing assistance.
- The federal definition of deafblindness states, "Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness. 34 CFR 300.7 (c) (2)".