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The Information, Research and Professional Development Department (IRPD) oversees research activities at Helen Keller National Center (HKNC). Research activities include empirical research, consultation, and collaboration with external organizations such as national agencies and universities. Research activities at HKNC are centered around the population of individuals who are DeafBlind in the United States. 

Research Topics

Access to Information & Technology

DeafBlind individuals can access information through technology and audio description. IRPD collaborated on a study including DeafBlind perspectives on audio description.


Communication in the DeafBlind community is exceptionally diverse, ranging from the use of speech to tactual sign language with haptics. IRPD recently conducted a study on the benefits of haptic communication.  


IRPD collected nationwide survey data on the needs of both employees who are DeafBlind and their employers to provide insights that can improve training for DeafBlind individuals, professionals and employers.

Data Collection & Usability

HKNC acknowledges that there is limited public data on DeafBlind populations. IRPD examined current data collection systems and surveys in the U.S. to demystify statistical data on deaf-blindness.

Rehabilitation Services

To better understand how to improve rehabilitation services, IRPD interviewed HKNC regional representatives on the perceived service priorities of DeafBlind individuals.

Learn more about Information, Research and Professional Development Department (IRPD)