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Deafblindness

Dual Sensory Impairment

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Updated February 11, 2011

Before I was a teenager, I had never known a deafblind person.

That all changed one year. That year, I had a deaf friend. This friend started having difficulty at night time. She was beginning to bump into things.

Her problem continued to worsen, and a doctor discovered she had usher's syndrome. It was a big shock for her and for me.

Fortunately, this friend was already friends with someone who was already deafblind. This person literally took my friend under his wing, and taught her how to function successfully as a deafblind person. My friend had to learn how to use a cane. And how to communicate using hand-touch. I had to learn how to use the hand-touch method of communication also, in order to communicate with my friend(s).

I feared that my friend would become completely blind. They explained to me that legal blindness means that you can not see well enough to do certain things, but you can still see some.

Deafblindness is relatively rare in the deaf community. So rare that apparently some deafblind people have difficulty being accepted by the deaf community. I shall never forget this letter (I do not have a copy of this letter) I saw published in a leading deaf publication. The letter was an open letter from a deafblind person to the deaf community at large, pleading for understanding and acceptance.

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