What You Need to Know About Deaf-Blindness

Updated on April 16, 2019
Tim Truzy info4u profile image

I've worked extensively with individuals with vision loss. I hold an M.S. degree in rehabilitation counseling from East Carolina University.

This bronze bust of Helen Keller resides in the Martha Frank Garden at The Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, NC
This bronze bust of Helen Keller resides in the Martha Frank Garden at The Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, NC | Source

Facts About Deaf-Blindness

Deaf-blindness is a condition which is rare. Depending on the definition, there are nearly 40,000 to 750,000 people impacted by the disorder in America. Many professionals recognize deaf-blindness as a dual-sensory disorder. The disability affects sight and hearing which causes problems for these individuals in socializing, mobility, and communicating. In essence, most routines of daily living become challenging.

There are several causes of deaf-blindness. The disability could be related to a premature delivery, congenital factors, or complication during the early stages of birth. Deaf-blindness could also occur later in life. Injuries and inherited genes can cause an onset of deaf-blindness. Disorders such as Meningitis are also associated with deaf-blindness.

In spite of these difficulties, people who are deaf-blind can achieve in life. As a rehabilitation counselor and while training as a teacher of the visually impaired, I had the opportunity to work with these extraordinary individuals.

Here are some methods they use to interact with others:

How Do People Who are Deaf-Blind Communicate?

  1. Sign Language – The use of this skill varies with Individuals. Often, the use of sign language depends on the use of any vision by the person who is deaf-blind. Some individuals who are deaf-blind may use a tactile sign language skill instead of a visual method.
  2. Speech – Many individuals who are deaf-blind may be able to communicate verbally in a limited manner.
  3. Speech Reading – This is the same as “lip reading.” It depends on the ability to see facial expressions and the movement of the lips.
  4. Tadoma – For this technique, the person who is deaf-blind places a hand on the throat, cheek or lips of the other individual and use the vibrations to help understand what is being said.
  5. Braille is also used by individuals who are deaf-blind to write and read.
  6. Tactile Finger Spelling – To communicate with this technique, the person who is deaf-blind places his/her hand over the hand of the signing person to interpret the finger spelling.

Poll

Have you ever interacted with an individual who is deaf-blind?

See results

Famous People Who Are Deaf-Blind

  1. The first individual who was deaf-blind and received successful instruction in America was Laura Bridgman (1829-1889).
  2. Obtaining a bachelor degree, Helen Keller (1880-1968) is famously identified with the condition. She was an activist, pushing for reforms to help people with disabilities. Helen Keller was also a published author and conducted lectures. (A picture of her statue is shown.)
  3. Rebecca Alexander is a psychotherapist who resides in New York. She has written a book about living with deaf-blindness and frequently appears on television shows. She was recognized as a “community hero,” and carried the torch for the 1996 Olympic Games. She has two master degrees and was born on February 4, 1979.

People who are deaf-blind may use a braillewriter like this one for written communication.
People who are deaf-blind may use a braillewriter like this one for written communication. | Source

How Does Deaf-Blindness Impact life?

Deaf-blindness may occur at any point due to a variety of factors. Generally, deaf-blindness is believed to happen in about 3 in every 100,000 births. Based upon the child’s degree of dual-sensory impairment, the view of the world is narrow comparable to those who are not deaf-blind. Without adequate support, these children may view the world as an unpredictable place. This is because information other children obtain naturally must be deliberately provided to children who are deaf-blind. Early intervention is necessary coupled with personal attention to stimulate interest and understanding of the world around them as they mature.

Yet, a child may become deaf-blind as he/she reaches puberty. Others do not experience deaf-blindness until adulthood. But adults who are deaf-blind fall within a range of gifted to profoundly multi-handicapped. Although mobility and communications are substantial difficulties these individuals must overcome, people who are deaf-blind work in a wide variety of jobs once they have received adequate training and support.

Poll

After reading this article, do you have a better understanding of people who are deaf-blind?

See results

References

Blaha, R. (2001). Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Huebner, K. M. (1995). Hand in hand: essentials of communication and orientation and mobility for your students who are deaf-blind. New York: AFB Press.

Janssen, M., Redbroe, I. (2006). Communication and congenital deafblindness and the core principles of intervention. St. Michielsgestel, The Netherlands: VCDBF/Viataal.

Miles & Riggio. (1999). Remarkable conversations - A Guide to Developing Meaningful Communication with Children and Young Adults who are Deafblind. Boston, MA: Perkins School for the Blind.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healthproadvice.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healthproadvice.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)