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Deafblindness is the condition of little or no useful sight and little or no useful hearing. Deafblind people have an experience quite distinct from people who are only deaf or only blind.


Deafblind people communicate in many different ways determined by the nature of their condition, the age of onset, and what resources are available to them. For example, someone who grew up deaf and experienced vision loss later in life is likely to use a sign language (in a visually-modified or tactual form). Others who grew up blind and later became deaf are more likely to use a tactile mode of their spoken/written language. Methods of communication include:

Multisensory methods have been used to help deafblind people enhance their communication skills. These can be taught to very young children with developmental delays (to help with pre-intentional communication), young people with learning difficulties, or older people, including those with dementia. One such process is Tacpac.

Prominent deafblind people

  • Francisco Goya (1746–1828): a Spanish painter, deaf and blind by the time of his death.
  • Victorine Morriseau (1789–1832): First deafblind person to be educated in Paris
  • James Mitchell (1795–1869): congenitally deafblind son of Scottish minister
  • Sanzan Tani (1802–1867): Japanese teacher who became deaf in childhood and blind later in life, communicating with students by touch.
  • Hieronymus Lorm (1821–1902): inventor and novelist
  • Laura Bridgman (1829–1889): first deafblind child to be successfully educated in the US
  • Mary Bradley (?–1866): first deafblind child to be successfully educated in the UK
  • Joseph Hague: second deafblind child to be successfully educated in the UK
  • Yvonne Pitrois (1880–1937): French biographer
  • Helen Keller (1880–1968): author, activist, and lecturer, first deafblind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree
  • Alice Betteridge (1901–1966): first deafblind Australian to be educated. Teacher, traveller, writer.
  • Jack Clemo (1916–1994): British poet who became deafblind as an adult
  • Richard Kinney (1924–1979): educator, lecturer, and poet; third deaf-blind person to graduate from an American university; president of the Hadley School for the Blind from 1975 to 1979.
  • Robert Smithdas (1925— ): first deafblind person in the US to receive a master's degree.
  • Theresa Poh Lin Chan (1945?— ): Singaporean teacher and writer

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Deafblindness" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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