What does deaf-blind mean?
The federal definition of deaf-blindness is "concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination that creates such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education in programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness." FR Dept. of Education, 34 CFR Parts 300 & 303. Vol. 64. No. 48.3/12/99
What that means is a condition in which both a hearing and vision loss are present at the same time. The combined effect of these losses, even if both are mild, creates unique challenges for the individual that cannot be addressed solely within a special education program for the deaf or special education program for the blind.
Deaf-blindness affects more than 10,000 children between birth and 21 years of age in the United States. It affects many children in the state of Mississippi. Deaf-blindness has over 70 known causes, including Usher's syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, meningitis, and rubella syndrome. Within each of these etiologies, there are specific concerns that carry lifelong challenges. Appropriatge education must address both the hearing and vision impairment, as well as any other disabilities that may be present.