Deafblindness Information and FAQs

Deafblindness Information

Special Education Service Agency (SESA) is the recipient of federal funds under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide technical assistance for children and youth, ages 0 through 21 years who have both vision and hearing impairments. Deafblindness provides services at no cost and in addition to those provided by schools and infant learning programs.

The purpose of deafblindness Services is to assist service providers and families in preparing learners with deafblindness for quality lives in their homes, schools, and communities. Some of the activities provided by deafblindness Services include: technical assistance to service providers and families through onsite consultation, inservice training, support to attend trainings specially addressing deafblindness issues, promotion of home-school partnerships and collaborative teaming, access to a parent navigator, an extensive lending library, and to resources and information.

Information regarding deafblindness is available concerning local, state and national resources. The deafblindness newsletter, Keeping In Touch, and program mailings provide up-to-date information. The SESA library maintains current literature and videotapes specific to deafblindness.

The following are some questions we are asked about SESA's Deafblindness Services and the individuals we serve:

Q: My student/child is not totally deaf and blind. Does s/he still qualify for service?

A: The combined effects of both these sensory losses, even if both are mild, may qualify him or her as deafblindness. Since vision and hearing are the primary senses for learning, even mild losses can create unique needs in communication, mobility and overall learning which requires specialized supports and interventions. Also, many children with deafblindness have other disabilities in addition to their sensory losses (e.g., motor involvement, cognitive impairment, medical complexities, etc.)

Q: What is the cause of deafblindness and how many people are affected?
A: There is not a single cause for deafblindness. In fact, deafblindness has over 70 known causes. Regardless of the cause, the challenges of deafblindness are lifelong. Appropriate education must address both the hearing and vision impairments, as well as any other disabilities that may be present. This condition affects over 9,000 children between birth and 21 years of age in the United States.

Q: Who can refer?
A: Referrals may be made by parents as well as educational, medical, or social service agencies.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: Deafblindness Services provides assistance at no cost to families, school districts, infant learning programs or other agencies requesting service.

Q: How can I find out more?
A: For any additional information, please contact us.