Children with a diagnosis of deaf-blindness have both hearing and visual impairments. Their communication and other needs are so great that programs for the deaf or blind can’t meet them.

DEFINITION. "Deaf-blindness" means 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.



1. Inability to perform basic academic tasks

2. Difficulty in performing functional life skills 


1. Difficulty with spoken language (nonverbal in some instances)

2. Limited vocabulary


1. Exhibits low frustration tolerance

2. Difficulty in demonstrating age-appropriate behavior

3. Exhibits problems in adjusting to change

4. Exhibits self-stimulatory behaviors such as body rocking, an attraction to light and hyperactivity

5. Exhibits inappropriate behaviors in touching and smelling objects and/or people



1. Difficulty with environmental mobility

2. Difficulty with vision

3. Difficulty with hearing

4. Difficulty with physical ambulation (motor problems/ orthopedic problems/cerebral palsy)

5. Displays seizure activity

6. Difficulty with eating

7. Difficulty with bowel and/or bladder control

8. Difficulty in administering self-care



Adaptation Explanation and Examples
Hands-on experiences Real-life examples of pictures or actual objects are used in instruction; for example, real coins are provided when pictures of coins are shown in a book.
Models Models of objects that are primarily visual are used, such as objects rather than pictures to represent the planets in the solar system.
More easily readable visual aids Your child receives his or her own copy of information that will be displayed on an overhead or whiteboard or chalkboard.
Clear directions Explicit language is used when giving directions, such as "Pass your papers to the right," rather than "over here."
Peer (classmate) note taker A classmate takes notes of material written on the board and provides a copy to the student with visual impairments.
Extra time for responses in class Your child may require extra time to respond to class discussions because he or she needs more time to read an assignment.
Oral description or narration Oral descriptions are provided of visual display material; for example, an exhibition of fine art would be described or portions of a video or film would be narrated during times when there is no dialog.
Experiential learning Your child has the opportunity to experience concepts directly that others may view in pictures or from a distance; for example, if the class is learning about farm animals, your child might visit a farm.
Verbalization of writing

Information that is being presented on a whiteboard or in an overhead is spoken aloud as it is being written.



Adaptation Explanation and Examples
Braille Textbooks, worksheets, and all materials used in instruction are provided in braille.
Tactile graphics Printed maps, diagrams, and illustrations are provided in a tactile format.
Audiotape materials Books and other print materials are provided in audio format.
Electronic access Materials are provided in an electronic format to be accessed with a computer or electronic notetaker; for example, your child uses an online encyclopedia to do research for a term paper or reads a textbook in digital format.
Print book for parents If your child reads in braille, he receives a print copy of a textbook for your use.
Highlighting Markers and highlighting tape are used to enhance the important parts of text.
Large print Large-print books are used for instruction or portions of books, such as a map, are enlarged as needed.
Manipulatives Physical items (such as small toys, buttons, or beads) are used to demonstrate mathematical concepts or used in art classes to complete a tactile drawing.