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Deaf-Blindness/Deaf-Blind*

Definition: A child with deaf-blindness has concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that the child cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.


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Photo of a girl in a pink shirt - Deafblind

 

Photo of boy and girl with arms around each other - Deafblind

 

Photo of boy in a green shirt - Deafblind

What is Deaf-Blindness?

The term "deaf-blind" may also be referred to as dual sensory impairment or dual sensory loss or spelled as deaf-blind. In Colorado, we use the term deaf-blind to connote it as a unique condition and not simply a disability of vision loss plus hearing loss.

Deaf-blindness is a combination of vision and hearing loss. Deaf-blindness encompasses a spectrum from mildly hard of hearing plus mildly visually impaired to totally deaf and blind or combinations of the severity of vision and hearing loss. It is rare that an individual with deaf-blindness would be completely blind and completely deaf. Either the vision and/or the hearing loss can be present at birth or acquired.

Individuals who have a combined vision and hearing loss have unique communication, learning, and mobility challenges due to their dual sensory loss. Deaf-blindness is a unique and diverse condition due to the wide range of sensory capabilities, possible presence of additional disabilities, and the age of onset for the vision and hearing loss.

 

Who is Deaf-Blind?

A child with deaf-blindness would include the infant who has a diagnosis of Retinopathy of Prematurity (a retinal condition that is associated with premature birth) and has an acquired hearing loss due to meningitis at age two. Another person with deaf-blindness may have been born with a profound hearing loss and developed a later vision loss due to a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa. The child may be identified as having both vision and hearing loss at birth or later in the school years, depending on the onset of the dual sensory loss.

Other Disabilities

 


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the United States Department of Education (US DOE), #H326C080044. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US DOE and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. -- Project Officer, Jo Ann McCann


Consultant/Specialist Contacts

Tanni Anthony
Phone: (303) 866-6681
Email Tanni Anthony

Gina Herrera
Phone: (303) 866-6605
Email Gina Herrera

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