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Communication between people with deafblindness

Duquette, J. (2012). Communication between people with deafblindness : How could it be facilitated ?  Information monitoring summary. Longueuil : INLB. 16 pages

Deafblindness is a condition comprising the dual impairments of vision and hearing to a more or less severe degree, hampering communication and access to information. The impact of both impairments is intensified or multiplied, as there is no possibility of effective compensation of sensory loss and information received is incomplete, impoverished or distorted. However, most individuals have residual vision and hearing that can potentially be maximized through rehabilitation.

The incidence of deafblindness increases with age and this dual sensory impairment is most often of acquired origin. Besides residual vision and hearing, people can use various communication modes and receive rehabilitation services in order to improve their communication skills. It is recommended that these services include formal training in communication to optimize the use of vision, hearing and technical aids, language perception and communication. Adaptation of the environment to people’s vision and hearing needs and use of effective strategies (e.g. requests for clarification; conversation repair strategies, etc.) should also be taught.

People with congenital or profound deafblindness represent only about 20 % of the population with this dual sensory impairment, but they have far more problems than those with acquired deafblindness. This includes greater difficulty in acquiring communication skills and interpersonal and social relationships, as their dual impairment imposes limitations in terms of both receptive and expressive communication. Even when living in a specialized residence, their interpersonal interactions can be very rare. Unlike their counterparts who have acquired dual impairment later in life, they have not had the opportunity to explore the world with their vision and/or hearing or to participate, interact and really communicate with others.

Support intervention by a trained and experienced third person may be useful or even necessary to manage and facilitate conversation from a directional and participatory perspective. Philosophical intervention concepts have been developed by the Canadian Deafblind & Rubella Association, and van

Sujets : Surdicécité; Communication; Pairs

Type de document : Veille informationnelle

Aussi disponible en français sous le titre : La communication entre personnes ayant une surdicécité : comment la faciliter ?

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