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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Accessibility/ Standards & Training/ Deafblind Disability

Deaf / Blind Disability

Individuals Who Are Deafblind

A person who is deafblind can neither see nor hear to some degree. This results in difficulties in accessing information and managing daily activities. Many people who are deafblind will be accompanied by an intervenor, a professional who helps with communicating.

Types of assistance an individual might use:

  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Print on paper (using black felt marker on non-glossy white paper or using portable white and black boards)
  • Communication boards
  • Hearing aid with built-in FM system
  • Magnification equipment such as monocular or magnifier
  • Teletypewriter (TTY)
  • White cane
  • Service animal
  • Support person, such as an intervenor

Guidelines for interacting with individuals who are deafblind:

  • Don’t assume what a person can or cannot do. Some people who are deafblind have some sight or hearing, while others have neither
  • A individual who is deafblind is likely to explain to you how to communicate with him or her or give you an assistance card or a note explaining how to communicate with him or her
  • Identify yourself to the intervenor when you approach an individual who is deafblind, but then speak directly to an individual as you normally would, not to the intervenor
  • Don’t touch or address service animals – they are working and have to pay attention at all times
  • Don’t suddenly touch a person who is deafblind or touch them without permission