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Helen Keller National Center is pleased to offer “Introduction to Deaf-Blindness and Etiologies.” This module is geared toward professionals who work with and/or support individuals who are DeafBlind but may also be beneficial for family members, friends and anyone interacting with an individual with a combined vision and hearing loss. It provides a general understanding of deaf-blindness including types of deaf-blindness, vision and hearing conditions, an overview of the various etiologies, and information about possible implications of deaf-blindness.

Understanding basic information about deaf-blindness, including etiologies, is important for anyone who is working with, living with, supporting or simply spending time with a person with a combined vision and hearing loss. Understanding the cause of a person’s combined vision and hearing loss can provide insight into their past experiences, the stability of their vision and hearing (is the loss progressive or stable?) and may help with communication, mobility and planning for the future. It is particularly important to understand that the combination of a vision and hearing loss creates a unique sensory situation that may have critical implications. Knowing what a person is able to see or hear is essential in establishing clear communication, ensuring safe mobility, assessing support needs and setting reasonable goals for employment, living situations, transportation and many other aspects of life.

This online module can be used in several ways: as a self-study course, with a small group of family or colleagues, as a supplement to a university course or as a requirement for people working with people who are DeafBlind in medical or care facilities.