What is deaf-blindness?
Deaf-blindness is when a person experiences loss in BOTH hearing and vision. The level in which hearing and vision are affected varies greatly. Only 1% of children identified as deafblind are completely deaf and completely blind. The other 99% have different levels of combined hearing and vision loss.
Children are considered to be deafblind when the combination of their hearing and vision loss cause severe communication and developmental delays resulting in educational needs that require significant and unique adaptations to tie educational programs.
According to 2019 child count data collected by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness, children who are deafblind are as varied as the number reported, and the nature and extent of deaf-blindness in children is often misunderstood (Malloy & Killoran, 2007; McCormick, 2015; Schalock, 2018).
These children represent one of the lowest incidences yet most diverse group of learners receiving early intervention and special education services (Muller, 2006). They are an extremely heterogeneous group whose sensory losses are often accompanied by additional physical or cognitive disabilities, complex medical needs, and/or behavior challenges.
The Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project
The Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project provides statewide technical assistance, support and training for educational teams and professionals that serve individuals with a combination of vision and hearing loss between the ages of 0-22 and their families.
Services offered by the Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project are funded by the U.S Department of Education's (ED's) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and Kentucky Department of Education's (KDE's) Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSEEL). The services are available free of charge. Anyone can make a referral for a child that may have both hearing and vision loss by using the link below:
Resources(The Kentucky Department of Education has a workgroup that is working on the development of a supplementary aid document in regards to the IEP Guidance Document that will be specific to children who are deafblind.)
Carol Ann Morrison
Office of Special Education and Early Learning
Division of State Schools300 Sower Blvd., 4th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4970 ext. 4123