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Thursday 01 July 2021
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Did you know that Deaf-Blindness does NOT imply a complete absence of sight or hearing?

The term "Deaf-blind" is often very difficult for families to hear. You, as a parent, may think, "My child isn't deaf-blind; she can see . . . or he can hear." What is important to remember is that there are all types and degrees of vision and hearing loss in children who are deafblind. Very rarely are we talking about a child with total blindness and complete deafness.  In order to be considered to be deaf-blind a person must only have a combined vision and hearing impairment.

The most well-known person associated with the term “deaf-blindness” is Helen Keller. An infection at 18 months of age left her completely deaf and totally blind. While Helen Keller was “truly deaf-blind,” she really only represents a small percentage of those who are classified as deaf-blind – about 6%.

Deaf-blindness actually encompasses a complete range of hearing and vision losses from mild to profound and from low vision to total blindness. There are actually five categories of vision and hearing impairments.  All children who are deaf-blind can fall anywhere along a continuum made up of these five categories.  The categories are: Visually Impaired and Hearing Impaired with Vision being the primary disability; Visually Impaired and Hearing Impaired with Hearing being the primary disability; Deaf and Visually Impaired; Blind and Hearing Impaired; and, Totally Deaf and Totally Blind. In addition, often a child may have an impairment that only effects one eye or one ear or is diagnosed with a progressive loss that currently may not be a problem, as well as having other disabling conditions.

As you can see, being "deaf-blind" means many different things.