My mother always read to my sister and I before we went to bed and my father read to us on the weekends or sometimes in the morning before he left for work. For our family being read to was like our family hobby. On more then on occasion my sister and I got to stay up very late listening to my mother read to us.

On one such occasion my mother was reading a story to us about Helen Keller. On night as she was reading the following passage:

"Although Helen was excited by having a newcomer in the house, she was also confused. Her new teacher-unlike her parents-did not let Helen do whatever she wanted to do whenever she wanted to do it. Helen was not allowed to put her fingers into everyone's food or have temper tantrums when she didn't get her way. Anne Sullivan knew that Helen's behavior was wild simply because she hadn't been taught to act properly. Therefor Anne's first job as Helen's teacher would be to teach the girl to act like a civilized human being."

I remember sitting there after my mother closesd the book and thinking no wonder that child hit so many things and got so mad. I think I would too if that where me to not be able to hear or see seems to be one of the worst thing that could happen to a person.

What is Deaf-Blindness

Deaf blindness is a dysfunction of the eyes and ears to the point that the person cannot see or hear well enough to be able to be taught, learn, or communicate in the normal ways that a blind or a deaf person does. Therefor this person requires special training that is a different from a person who is only blind or deaf.

Sometimes this is caused by rebelau during pracniciy or the Chang syndrom

What is Deaf-blindness


The numbers seem to be conflicting. According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities in the US we have about 45,000 to 50,000 people who are deaf blind and around 10,000 of them are children under the age of 21. However in the Thoughtful House Center for Children reports a lower number for each school year. Their report states that there are only about 2,000 school aged children who are blind-deaf. I cannot find a numbers for world wide case but I would imagine that the percentages are much higher in the developing counters. Simply because the percentage of blind people and deaf people are much higher so it seems that the number for blind deafness would be higher as well. It also seems that most of the people with deaf blindness are older people. The number of births of deaf blind children is very low so I believe that most of the people with deaf blindness come down with it sometime during their lives many after some kind of accident or illness. However it is very uncommon.

people with deaf blindness come down with it sometime during their lives many after some kind of accident or illness. However it is very uncommon. 

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

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Describe Characteristics of Students

A person who is blind-deaf may have varying amounts and forms of blindness and deafness; some may have only a little impairment while others may have a complete loss of hearing and sight. Along with the sight and hearing problems many also have other communication problems or it might be the symptom of a nervous system dysfunction. Whatever level of impairment a person may have almost all of them will have some educational problems and cognitive, behavioral, communicative, and physical impairments.

According to the Minnesota Region 10 Special Education Project// a person who is deaf blind is likely to have some of the following characteristics

  • Difficulty with communication
  • Distorted perceptions: Difficulty in imaging the whole picture or relating one element to the whole;
  • Anticipation: Difficulty in knowing what is going to happen next, lacking the context normally provided through "overseeing" or "overhearing" information and cues;
  • Motivation: The motivating factors may be missing from a situation, going unseen or unheard
  • Incidental learning: First hand experiences are much more effective than incidental observation group experiences.

The list from Arkansas Department of Education is a bit simpler. Breaking the characteristic down into simpler terms.

  • Inability to perform basic academic tasks
  • Difficulty in performing functional life skills

  • · Difficulty with spoken language (nonverbal in some instances)
  • · Limited vocabulary

  • Exhibits low frustration tolerance
  • Difficulty in demonstrating age-appropriate behavior
  • Exhibits problems in adjusting to change
  • Exhibits self-stimulatory behaviors such as body rocking, an attraction to light and hyperactivity
  • Exhibits inappropriate behaviors in touching and smelling objects and/or people

  • Difficulty with environmental mobility
  • Difficulty with vision
  • Difficulty with hearing
  • Difficulty with physical ambulation (motor problems/ orthopedic problems/cerebral palsy)
  • Displays seizure activity
  • Difficulty with eating
  • Difficulty with bowel and/or bladder control
  • Difficulty in administering self-care

How is this disability identified? List assessments

Because of the varying amounts of deafness and blindness that a blind-deaf person can have it is important that a specialist in the area be used. One study I looked at told of a group of blind or deaf children that were evaluated and it was found that many of them had some level of blind-deafness. Because the ways of educating a blind-deaf person are so different, it is vital that an accurate assessment be made so that the child can receive the proper education.

Some of the test and assessments that are used in determining blind-deafness are as follows.

  • Social History
  • Individual Intelligence/Cognitive Functioning
  • Individual Achievement/Functional Skills Assessment
  • Adaptive Behavior
  • Communicative Abilities
  • Orientation and mobility assessment
  • Medical
  • Physical examination
  • Specialized
  • Audiological
  • Ophthalmological
  • Vocational Assessment

Procedure for Determination

How do these Learners receive their education?

When constructing a program for a blind-deaf person it is important to understand how much cognitive function they have. If they have a normally functioning brain then with the right supports the child should be able to do just about anything mental that a sighted and hearing child can. However if they have cognitive function problems you may not be able to push them as far. The important thing to remember is that these children are likely to be slower simply because it is harder to get the information in and out. So be patient.

Some of the ways they learn are as follows. You should use them in helping the child learn new information.

  • Touch (touching; being touched)
  • Smell
  • Residual vision
  • Residual hearing/vibration
  • Skin (hot/cold; wet/dry; texture)
  • Movement (shape, distance, height, weight, pressure [soft/hard

Many of them will have trouble learning to speak so you may have to use alternative forms of speech.

What are best educational practices? Strategies for Curriculum and Instruction

Deaf-Blindess is vary straight forward as in what you are dealing with but few children have this apility difference so not a lot of research as been done. But when you look at what a child can do and what they can not do the things that are left to this child are tuch, tast, smell, so what we have to do is establish a way to comunicat and then teach them through touch. I have listed some Strategies from the Deaf-Blind Prospective Volume 8 Issue 2

  • Hand-over-hand guidance. Hand-over-hand guidance is a common strategy in which an adult puts his or her hand over a child’s hand to help the child explore an object, act on an ob ject, or make a ges ture or sign (Free man, 1985; McInnes & Treffry, 1982). This “hand-over-hand” Winter 2000/2001 strategy should be used only when necessary and able to keep his or her hand on top of the adult’s with sensitivity to the child’s reactions. Some children dislike having their hands manipulated and feel threatened by the lack of control. Others become passive and prompt-dependent. They learn to wait for an adult’s hand on their own as a prompt to initiate an action (Downing, 1999; Miles, 1998). However, hand-over-hand guidance may be an essential strategy for children who have severe physical disabilities because they often need assistance to manipulate and explore objects.

  • Hand-under-hand guidance. This is an alternative to hand-over-hand guidance. Using this method, an adult places his or her hand slightly under the child’s as they explore objects together (Dote-Kwan & Chen, 1999; MacFarland, 1995; Miles, 1998). The adult may also gently rest a hand underneath the child’s and wait for the child to initiate an interaction. One strategy for introducing unfamiliar objects using the hand-under-hand method involves placing the child’s hand on top of the adult’s hand while the adult grasps an object. The adult then slowly rotates his or her hand so that the child is gradually introduced to the shape of the object. Another strategy involves gradually with drawing the adult hand until the child’s fingers touch the surface of the object or texture being explored (Dote-Kwan & Chen, 1999). In or der for hand-under-hand strategies to be effective, the child must be willing and able to keep his or her hand on top of the adult’s hand.

  • Adapted signs. Adapted signs are tactile adaptations of visually-based manual signs (Chen, 1995). Adaptations involve how the sign is made (hand shape, orientation of the hands in relationship to the body, movement of the hands from one point to another, and area of the body where the sign is produced) and received by a child who is deaf-blind. This is a developing area of knowledge and the terminology can be con fusing. Some methods of adapting signs include the following:

  • Tactile signing. The receiver places his or her hands on the signer’s hands in order to perceive the signs (Reed, Delhorne, Durlach, & Fisher, 1995). This is a hand-under-hand method. It is also called interactive signing (Alsop, 1993; Watkins & Clark, 1991). Tactile or interactive signing provides a means of communication input (receptive communication) for the child who is deaf-blind.external image deafblind.jpg

  • Coactivesigning. A type of adapted signing in which an adult physically guides the child to produce signs using a hand-over-hand method (Watkins & Clark, 1991). This is a means of communication output (expressive communication).

  • Body signing. The signer produces signs on areas of the child’s body other than the hands (Joint, 1998). For example, the sign for EAT may be placed against the lips. Body signs are based on manual signs that are symbols or words. The child may perceive the sign as a touch cue, however, and not recognize a particular sign as a word.

  • Key word signing. The use of selected signs (e.g., nouns and verbs) to communicate main ideas or messages (Chen, 1999). Many children who are deaf-blind with additional disabilities have very short attention spans and limited communication. The majority of hearing adults who communicate with them are usually limited in their sign language skills unless they have a back ground in deafness. For these reasons, most children who are deaf-blind who have additional disabilities are exposed to key word signs rather than to American Sign Language (with its own grammar) or manually coded English (uses English syntax). For example, WANT PLAY are key word signs for “Do you want to play?”

A common terminology and systematic study of the methods used to adapt man ual signs for children who are deaf-blind is needed. Questions that need to be answered include: How should manual signs be adapted to encourage receptive and expressive communication? What criteria should guide decision-making when considering whether adapted signs are an effective communication option for a particular child?

  • Tactile representation. Tactile representations must make sense to a child in order to convey meaning (Downing & Eichinger, 1990; Rowland & Schweigert, 1998). For example, using a toy car to represent “going for a ride in a car” maexternal image andrew-tuba-real1.jpgy be completely nonsensical from a child’s tactile point of view. A seatbelt may be a more meaningful association based on the child’s experience. Adults should think from a tactile rather than a visual perspective when selecting tactile representations.

  • Touch cues. Touch cues or tactile signals are an important communication strategy to use with young children who are deaf-blind dur ing the early stages of communication development (Klein, Chen, & Haney, 2000; Rowland, Schweigert, & Prickett, 1995). The intended meaning of a touch cue is derived from the specific context and situation. The use of touch cues should be consistent. A child will not be able to decipher the meaning of a touch cue if different people use it for a variety of messages. For example, patting or tapping a child on the shoulder may express any of the following:
-positive feedback (“Great job”)
-a request or directive (“Sit down”)
-information (“Your turn”)
-comfort or reassurance (“Don’t cry, you’re OK”)

  • Object cues. Object cues are objects or parts of objects used in activities or associated with a particular person. They are used to give information, make requests, and provide feedback. Initially object cues should be used during activities and selected so that the child can easily make an association between an object and the activity it represents (Chen, 1995; Rowland, Schweigert & Prickett, 1995). For example, a small card board container of juice may be used to represent “time for snack.” As the child learns to associate an object with an activity, object cues can become smaller and more abstract. An objects other than the one used in the activity (e.g., an empty juice container), a piece of the object (e.g., lid of the container), a partial representation of the object (e.g., piece of card board), an associated object (e.g., a straw), or a model of the object (e.g., a miniature juice box) may be used in stead.


The accommodations for a Deaf-Blind child will be simpler to those needed for a blind or deaf child the only thing is that they cannot rely on the other major communication mode. So you will have to come up with some way to help them communicate and provide a interpreter. The Other major issue is safety you will have to make sure they know their way around this is to insure safety.

What you can do to help
More Help
3D Toys

  • Interpreter
  • Tactile modals of what is being taught
  • May need a guild
  • Braille books
  • Note taker

Inclusive Practices

Deaf-blind children have done very well in inclusive classroom. In one school they found that the deaf-blind children who were educated in an inclusive classroom, had more of their social needs met then ones educated in special education classrooms. In order for the child to have these successes in the classroom they took the following steps. However Inclusion with this group of children is very hard and takes a lot of support and planing but I believe it can be done.

Step 1
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Was to educate the other children about what deaf-blindness was

Step 2
Established an alternative communication system for the child and the classmates to us.

Step 3
They facilitated in social interactions.

Facilitating Social Supports.htm


Continuum of severity or extent possible in youngsters


For more information go to this web site Combined Vision and Hearing Loss:

Special Challenges for General Education

I don't think I could say it any better then this report from the Nation Center on Accessible Instructional Materials

The federal definition of deaf-blindness stresses its uniqueness as contrasted with deafness or blindness. Apart from the uniqueness of deaf-blindness in and of itself are various ways in which the disability manifests itself. For example, Rubella syndrome may produce a sensorineural hearing loss and congenital cataracts, but may also result in central nervous system dysfunctions and cardiac problems. Ushers syndrome initially appears as a profound hearing loss and in adolescence results in loss of peripheral vision. CHARGE syndrome adds yet other physical and intellectual dimensions to visual and hearing challenges. When considering the needs of these students, age at onset, progression of sensory loss, and severity of sensory impairment must all be carefully examined.

Classroom inclusion is extremely challenging for students who are deaf-blind. A combination of vision and hearing impairment limits use of auditory/vocal and visual/motor channels of communication. Lack of opportunity to move about freely and to communicate can result in extreme isolation. Except for students with sufficient residual vision and hearing, it is difficult to view the typical classroom as providing a least restrictive environment for students who are deaf-blind, as substantial supports for mediating the social, communication, and mobility needs of students who are deaf-blind must be carefully planned and implemented for curriculum access and participation to occur.

Accommodations: Assistive Technology

It seems like the computer is one of the most helpful assistive technology they have a screen that updates with braille. This way the child can use it to write but if they need help speaking this can be used as an alternative to speech. Other helpful technology is 3D Toys where the child can touch and feel what is going on. To read about one man that used a computer follow this link.
More Communication Devices

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Wraparound Service if any

Wrap around services are service that are provided at holistic care to the child and the parents. It is a program that helps the child live the most productive life. A blind-deaf child will need wraparound services to help the parents, himself, and teachers all work together to help him have the most productive life possible.


Is this a school issue or life issue - Why?
This is a school issue and a life issue it affects the child ability to learn because of the sever communication problems and it affects his life because of the limited amount of moment and freedom this person will have.

How does this affect home?
In the home the parents will have to learn alternative forms of communication and insure that the child is safe. They will also have to spend a lot of time with the child helping him or her learn how to interact with others


The most famous person is Hellen Keller but I thought you would like to read the story that a blind-deaf person wrote
Name of someone who has achieved greatness

James Gallagher
My name is James Gallagher and I am deafblind myself. This site is here to try and offer some help to Blind or deaf people, and especially deafblind people, and those who provide specialised services for those who are deafblind. A-Z to Deafblindness is also here, to make people more aware about deafblindness.

Within this website you will be able to learn the Deafblind Manual Alphabet and, the Two-Handed Manual Alphabet used by sighted Deaf people. Its up to you where you wish to go. If you wish to learn the Deafblind Manual Alphabet then there are pages on this website for you to do so.

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There is the Archives page, where I am trying to collect some of the best documents about the condition of deafblindness that there is on the Net. There is also information about Braille, Moon, The Cochlear Implant, Retinal Implant Project, a full text description of the ASL alphabet, the causes of deafblindness, some very interesting articles about deafness and deafblindness, and also the addresses of organszations for deafblind people throughout the world as well as dates for conferences and courses about deafblindness throughout this little world of ours.

Also of course pages with links to some of the best web sites on the Net which have information about the above topics. I hope you find this site interesting and knowledgeable. These pages will never be the best on the Net about deafblindness, but I try to provide good and clear information to those who wish to find out more about deafblindness and those who have the condition.

I hope that you will enjoy your time browsing around in A-Z to Deafblindness. If you know, or have, a website that you think should be included within this web page then please just let me know, and I will be more than happy to add a link to your pages.

If you have any trouble with these pages in any way then please let me know. I will be happy to help you in any way that I can. Remember I am just an e-mail away. If you wish to get in touch with me my e-mail address is below, and please feel free to do so.


Zoë Dunn is out of the bath and ready for mischief.
Two of her sisters - Zoë is one of a set of triplets - are at school. A third sister is with their mother at a neighbor's house, so Zoë and Mackenzie Levert have the place to themselves.
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Levert watches as Zoë moves unsteadily across the hall and clambers onto the seat of a rocking chair.
A few minutes later, she urges Zoë back to the bedroom.
"You need to get dressed," Levert says, speaking out loud but also using sign language.
"Chips," the 7-year-old responds for the fifth time this morning, using the sign for her favorite snack.
Levert has spent the past 4 1/2 months standing sentinel in a world that Zoë can neither see nor hear, and she easily deflects the demand for chips and leads Zoë to the bedroom, where a series of cubbyholes is stocked with everything from socks to hair gel.

Levert is a teacher working with Three deaf-blind children. This story is amazing what she has done for them and what she has helped the children overcome. I would recommend that you read the whole story.

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For a story of a blind teacher that used her disability to help children understand what being blind-deaf was like go to this link

What Can You DO

What can you do to make a difference for the child?

For this child the best thing to do is be very supportive, understanding, patient, and keeping trying and looking for answers to help the child. Even though this is a very sever disability with the right help the child might just become a Helen Keller.

What can you do to support parents?

These parents will need help in finding out what works. The will also need some kind of support structure of people that understand this type of disability. The general population may try to understand but until you are the parent of a child like this you will never fully understand. They may also need respite care.