Ideas that Work, office of special programs U.S. Department of Education

The contents of this website were developed in part under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H328M150052. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government or Project Officer, David Emenheiser.

Deaf-Blindness Resources

Deaf-blindness is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as a "concomitant 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."

The term deafblindness does NOT mean a child must be completely unable to see or hear. The term refers to the combination of visual and hearing impairments that serve to impair a child's ability to communicate and to learn to the extent that specialized instruction is required to support the child's education.

The range of vision and hearing that children with the designation deafblind have is great. Some with have more vision that hearing and others more hearing than vision. Most will have sufficient vision to move about in their environment and to recognize faces. Most will have enough hearing to recognize familiar sounds and develop speech themselves.

There are a number of syndromes that are rare that have combined visual and hearing impairment as aspects of the disorder. They include: Alport Syndrome, Congenital Rubella Syndrome, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), CHARGE Association, Down Syndrome, Marshall Syndrome, Rubella Syndrome, Stickler Syndrome.

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