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The Assessment of Deafblind Access to Manual Language Systems (ADAMLS) is a re­source for educational teams who are responsible for developing appropriate adaptations and strategies for children who are deafblind who are candidates for learning manual lan­guage systems. Our scope here is intentionally narrow═ż however we want the reader to remember how complex the approach to instructional strategies for children with deafblindness can be and we encourage you to refer to the resources listed.

A child who is deaf or hard of hearing depends heavily on the visual channel to access information and interaction. Sign language, fingerspelling and speechreading are visual by definition, and vision loss can greatly affect the ability of the child who is deafblind to access these modes of communication. Because little or no attention has been focused on this problem, it is typically not addressed in evaluations. As a result, many qualified students are considered incapable of learning these language systems, and educators may be so unfamiliar with adaptations and strategies to teach them that the child fails to show progress. Effective teaching practice requires that the influence of vision loss on the acquisition and use of manual communication forms be fully considered so that appropriate adaptations can be implemented.

The assessment tool should be used for all children with a dual vision and hearing sen­sory loss (deafblindness) in educational settings that use a form of manual communica­tion. Communication is the means by which a child gains access to the curriculum and to education generally. Therefore, if there is a breakdown in this critical exchange, the child is essentially denied the right to a free and appropriate education. We hope the ADAMLS provides unique and important information in a user­friendly manner to fulfill a need that exists in the field of deafblindness.

Download the assessment.