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Deaf - Blindness - What Is Deaf - Blindness?


Updated November 27, 2010

Visually Impaired Boy Feels a Turtle

Visually Impaired Child in Class

Blind Child Photo by Getty Images
Definition: Deaf-blindness is the coexistence of severe hearing and visual impairments that cause significant impact on a person's ability to communicate and learn. To qualify as deaf-blind under the IDEA, the child's impairment in both senses must be so severe that the child cannot be accommodated in an educational program that only addresses one of these impairments.

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’s ability to learn and function independently. Blindness means a visual impairment that, with or without correction, has a severe impact on a child's ability to learn and perform every day tasks necessary for independence.

Deaf-blind people may also have underlying learning disabilities.

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