Deafblindness is defined under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as “concomitant (simultaneous) 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”.
Deafblindness does not only mean a child is fully deaf and fully blind. In fact, according to the 2017 National Child Count of Children and Youth Who are Deaf-Blind, only about 1% of the population has a profound hearing loss and is totally blind. The other 99% have some residual hearing or vision. Deafblindness includes a wide range of hearing and sight levels that occur at the same time and have a significant, unique impact. The special education service criteria also includes students at risk of developing deafblindness, including students with Usher Syndrome and CHARGE Syndrome.
Deafblindness impacts access to people, language, communication, as well as the environment in school, home, and community. “Deafblindness is a unique disability and not the sum total of vision and hearing loss” (Miles, B. and Riggio, M. (1999).
Ann Mayes, Statewide Education Specialist - Deafblind
(612) 638-1527, email@example.com