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Encyclopedia > Deafblindness

Deafblindness is the condition of little or no useful sight and hearing. As with the word "Deaf," it can be capitalized to indicate that it is a culture; some prefer the spelling "DeafBlind".[citation needed] Deafblind people have an experience quite distinct from people who are only deaf or blind and not both. The best-known deafblind person is the author, activist, and lecturer Helen Keller. In psychology, visual perception is the ability to interpret visible light information reaching the eyes which is then made available for planning and action. ... Hearing is one of the traditional five senses, and refers to the ability to detect sound. ... The word deaf can have very different meanings depending on the background of the person speaking or the context in which the word is used. ... This article is about the visual condition. ... Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was a deafblind American author, activist and lecturer. ...



Deafblind people can't talk but communicate in many different ways; determined by the nature of their condition, the age of onset, and what resources are available to them. For example, someone who grew up deaf and experienced vision loss later in life is likely to use a tactile mode of a sign language; others who grew up blind and later acquired deafness are more likely to use a tactile mode of their spoken/written language. Methods of communication include: Two sign language Intepreters working as a team for a school. ...

  • Use of residual hearing (speaking clearly, hearing aids) or sight (signing within a restricted visual field, writing with large print).
  • Tactile signingsign language or a manual alphabet such as the American Manual Alphabet, or DeafBlind Alphabet (also known as "two-hand manual") with tactile or visual modifications.
  • Interpreting services (such as sign language interpreters or communication aides)
  • Communication devices such as Tellatouch.

Multisensory methods have been used to help deafblind people to enhance their communication skills. This can be with very young children with developmental delay (helping with pre-intentional communication), young people with learning difficulties, or older people, including those with dementia. One such process is Tacpac. Behind the ear aid For the song, see Flood (album). ... Tactile signing is a common means of communication used by people with both a sight and hearing impairment (see Deafblindness), which is based on a standard system of Deaf manual signs. ... Two sign language Intepreters working as a team for a school. ... The American Manual Alphabet is a manual alphabet that augments the vocabulary of American Sign Language when spelling individual letters of a word is the preferred or only option, such as with proper names or the titles of works. ... Several manual alphabets in use around the world employ two hands for some or all of the letters. ... It has been suggested that Interpreter (communication) be merged into this article or section. ... Tacpac is multi-sensory process created in 1995 that can be used to promote communication and movement through touch and music. ...


There are over 70 known causes of deafblindness[1]. Causes can be categorised into two groups: acquired and congenital.


The majority of people with sight and hearing impairments have had both sight and hearing throughout most of their lives, and experienced a loss of those senses through illness, injury or age. According to sense.org.uk, about 4% of people over 60 in the UK have both hearing and vision impairments. Most people with acquired sight and hearing loss retain some useful sight and/or hearing. Some people have congenital deafness and acquired blindness (such as glaucoma or cataracts) or vice-versa. Cataract is also used to mean a waterfall or where the flow of a river changes dramatically. ...


Children born deaf and blind are described as having congenital deafblindness. This condition may be due to prenatal infection (such as rubella), genetic/chromosomal syndromes (such as Down syndrome), birth trauma or maternal heavy alcohol and drug use. Some congenital conditions will not cause deafblindness until later in life. Sense.org.uk reports that the biggest cause of deafblindness in children in the western world today is 'unknown.' Maternal rubella was once the major cause of deafness and deafblindness in the west, but is now rare due to widespread vaccination programs. Rubella, commonly known as German measles, is a disease caused by the rubella virus. ... A genetic disorder is a disease caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes. ... Fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS is a disorder of permanent birth defects that occurs in the offspring of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy. ... The term Western world, the West or the Occident (Latin occidens -sunset, -west, as distinct from the Orient) [1] can have multiple meanings dependent on its context (e. ...

Usher syndrome is also a major contributor to deafblindness. It is a genetic condition of people born deaf or hard of hearing, who gradually start to lose their sight. The sight loss usually begins in late childhood and is caused by an eye condition known as Retinitis Pigmentosa. Early symptoms include night blindness and loss of peripheral vision. It affects 3-6% of the people in the UK who were born deaf or partially hearing (sense.org.uk). Usher syndrome is a genetic disease causing deaf-blindness. ... The word deaf can have very different meanings depending on the background of the person speaking or the context in which the word is used. ... This article is about hearing impairment in the pathological sense. ... Normal vision. ... Nyctalopia (literally night blindness) is a condition making it difficult or impossible to see in the dark. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Bitemporal hemianopia. ...

Deafblind people in history

  • Francisco Goya (1746–1828): a Spanish painter, deaf and blind by the time of his death. [2]
  • Victorine Morriseau (1789–1832): First deafblind person to be educated in Paris
  • James Mitchell (1795–1869): congenitally deafblind son of Scottish minister
  • Hieronymus Lorm (19th century): inventor and novelist
  • Sanzan Tani (1802–1867): Japanese teacher who became deaf in childhood and blind later in life, communicating with students by touch.
  • Laura Bridgman (1829–1889): first deafblind child to be successfully educated in the US
  • Mary Bradley (time and place of birth not known, died in 1866)
  • Julia Brace (1807–1884)
  • Eliza Cooter (1841–1860)
  • Robert Dewar (1860–1877)
  • Ragnhild Kåta (1873–1947): Norway
  • Yvonne Pitrois (1880–1937): French biographer
  • Helen Keller (1880–1968): author, activist, and lecturer
  • Alice Betteridge (1901–1966): first deafblind Australian to be educated. Teacher, traveller, writer.
  • Jack Clemo (1916–1994): British poet who became deafblind as an adult
  • Raimo Williams (1917–1945)
  • Robert Smithdas (1925–): the first DeafBlind person in the US to receive a master's degree.
  • Georgia Griffith (circa 1930–)
  • John J. Boyer (1936–)
  • Richard Kinney (?–?): Educator, lecturer, and poet; president of the Hadley School for the Blind from 1975 to 1979.
  • Danny Delcambre (born 1959)
  • Theresa Poh Lin Chan (born c. 1944)
  • Aletrishe Nietrà's granddaughter Sillian (1989-1994)

“Goya” redirects here. ... Heinrich Landesmann, Hieronymus Lorm (August 9, 1821, Nikolsburg - December 4, 1902, at Brünn) was an Austrian poet and philosophical writer. ... Laura Bridgman (December 21, 1829 – May 24, 1889) was the first deaf-blind person to be successfully educated, fifty years before the more famous Helen Keller. ... Mary Bradley (born 10 May 1942) is an Irish politician. ... Born June 13, 1807, to a poor family in Hartford County, Connecticut, Julia Brace became deafblind at age five from typhus fever. ... Ragnhild Tollefsen Kåta (May 23, 1873 – February 12, 1947) was the first deafblind person in Norway who received proper schooling. ... Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was a deafblind American author, activist and lecturer. ... Alice Betteridge (right) meets Helen Keller in Wahroonga, Sydney in 1948. ... Reginald John Clemo (Jack Clemo) (March 11, 1916 - July 25, 1994) was a British poet and writer, strongly associated both with his native Cornwall and his Christian belief. ... Hadley School for the Blind is a world famous learning institution in Winnetka, Illinois. ... Aletrishe Nietrà (b. ...

See also

This article discusses the way the word deaf is used and how deafness is perceived by hearing and Deaf communities. ... This article is about the visual condition. ... Tadoma is a method invented by Helen Keller and developed at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts for teaching a student with dual sensory impairments (see deafblindness) to speak. ... Usher syndrome is a genetic disease causing deaf-blindness. ... A long cane, the primary mobility tool for the visually impaired. ... Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) can occur in a developing fetus of a pregnant woman who has contracted rubella during her first trimester. ... Alternate cover Deluxe edition cover Tommy is the first of The Whos two full-scale rock operas (the second being Quadrophenia), and the first musical work explicitly billed as a rock opera. ...

External links

Information to nurture, empower, and instruct children who are deaf-blind

  • Signs that Made a Life Worth Living


  1. ^ http://www.sense.org.uk/publications/allpubs/deafblindness/D01.htm - What is deafblindness?
  2. ^  http://www.sense.org.uk/deafblindness/allcauses.htm - a partial list of causes of deafblindness
  3. ^  http://www.senseintindia.org - an NGO working with deafblind people

  Results from FactBites:
Interveners for Students with Deafblindness in Texas (6387 words)
The term "deafblind" refers to a combination of a vision impairment with a hearing impairment that affects the way a student is able to access information and function in the educational environment.
Additionally, if a student with deafblindness requires extensive and novel modifications to the existing educational model, the services of an intervener can be used to simplify the process for the other members of the educational team.
Because a student who is deafblind misses significant environmental information, he or she may not have as complete a conceptual understanding of topics being discussed as someone who has complete use of one or both distance senses.
  More results at FactBites »



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