DB 101: Children Who are Deaf-Blind

Overview Materials

What is Deaf-Blindness?
Read a short introduction

Overview on Deaf-Blindness
"It may seem that deaf-blindness refers to a total inability to see or hear"...Read More.
This NCDB publication by Barbara Miles provides excellent information, fundamental to understanding the unique considerations of children who are deaf-blind.

Children Who Are Deaf-Blind
This NCDB publication provides details about the population of children who are deaf-blind, including the classification of vision and hearing loss, the types of additional disabilities that may be present, and the causes of deafblindness.

Families Talk About Deaf-Blindness
This video is produced by NFADB and features families perspectives on deaf-blindness.

What's in a Name?

There a many different phrases used to describe deaf-blindness. Among those are combined vision and hearing loss, dual sensory impaired, concomitant vision and hearing loss, deaf-blind, blind-deaf, deaf/blind, DeafBlind, and deafblind. Over the past two decades, with the growth of the disability rights movement, there has been an effort to use person first language when referring to a person with a disability and many people prefer the term "person who is deaf-blind". The term "deafblind", no hyphen, has also gained momentum in the United States. In the early 1990's, Salvatore Lagati of the Servizio di Consulenza Pedagogica in Italy proposed international acceptance of the single word "deafblind" in place of the hyphenated version. The intent was to indicate that deafblindness is a unique condition that is not simply the addition of deafness and blindness and that impact of dual losses is multiplicative rather than additive. This version is prominently in use in European countries. In the United States, practitioners, service providers and agencies still chose between the two versions. Both of the national consumer organizations, the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) and the National Family Association of Deaf-Blind (NFADB) and the federal government are represented by the hyphenated term.

Federal Definition of Deaf-Blindness

What are the Causes?

Etiologies Related to Deaf-Blindness
This list from Washington details syndromes and conditions that may cause a combined vision and hearing loss.

Primary Etiologies of Deaf-Blindness
This data is from the NCDB annual child count.  View the list alphabetically or by frequency


Being Born Early Means More Than You Think
This chart provides an overview of sensory development and some of the effects that an early birth can have on child development.

This information from Project Sparkle describes implications of hearing and vision loss.


NCDB Selected Topics:

Causes of Deaf-Blindness

What is Deaf-Blindness


> Back to DB 101

NCDB : The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 |

Tour This Page Website Help
Help for this page

Help Guides & Tutorials