Wikipedia Extract : View Full Article

Deafblindness is the condition of little or no useful sight and little or no useful hearing.

There are different degrees of vision loss and auditory loss within each individual, thus making the deafblind community unique with many types of deafblindness involved. Because of this diversity, each deafblind individual's needs regarding lifestyle, communication, education, and work need to be addressed based on their degree of dual-modality deprivation in order to improve their ability to live independently.

Some deafblind individuals view their condition as a part of their identity.

There are two overarching types of deafblindness:

  • Congenital deafblindness: deafblindness from birth:
    • Pregnancy complexities
    • Genetic conditions
  • Acquired deafblindnness: deafblindness later in life:
    • Genetic conditions
    • Age-relate loss of modality
    • Illness
    • Somatic injuries

Deafblind people communicate in many different ways as determined by the nature of their condition, the age of onset, and what resources are available to them.

For example, someone who grew up deaf and experienced vision loss later in life is likely to use a sign language (in a visually modified or tactile form). Others who grew up blind and later became deaf are more likely to use a tactile mode of spoken/written language.

Methods of communication include:

  • Use of residual hearing (speaking clearly, hearing aids, or cochlear implants) or sight (signing within a restricted visual field, writing with large print).
  • Tactile signing, sign language, or a manual alphabet such as the American Manual Alphabet or Deaf-blind Alphabet (also known as "two-hand manual") with tactile or visual modifications.
  • Interpreting services (such as sign language interpreters or communication aides).
  • Communication devices such as Tellatouch or its computerized versions known as the TeleBraille and Screen Braille Communicator.
  • Multisensory methods have been used to help deafblind people enhance their communication skills. These can be taught to very young children with developmental delays (to help with pre-intentional communication), young people with learning difficulties, and older people, including those with dementia. One such process is Tacpac.