Main content

Alert message

Children who are deafblind sometimes have difficulty bonding or feeling a connection with other people. The reasons for this are easy to understand.

The combination of hearing and vision loss causes children who are deafblind to miss information, or get distorted information from the environment and people around them. They may be unaware who is with them, or even if anyone is around. This can cause them to feel isolated and confused about what is happening, or what is about to happen. As a result routine events may catch these students by surprise, and cause them to not trust others. Second, because a child’s communication methods may be different than most, others may not take the time to (or be unable to) explain what has happened, or what to expect. Finally, because other people may have a had a difficult time understanding what the child is trying to communicate, the child may have decided that others aren’t paying attention, and as a result can’t be trusted.

In spite of these obstacles, here are some things you can do to connect with your student:

  • Make sure your student knows who is with him/her. Use a name sign or other method to identify yourself, and always let the student know when you have arrived and when you are leaving.
  • Give the student as much information as possible about what is happening, and what will happen in the future. How this is done will vary based on your student’s sensory and communication abilities. Use speech, sign, pictures, tactile/object symbols, calendars, or simply provide the opportunity for the student to explore. The more information the better, using as many methods as possible.
  • Pay close attention to what the student is trying to tell you, even if it is subtle. Acknowledge to the student that you have listened, and honor requests when possible.
  • Do activities together that encourage interaction and turn taking. Let the student know that activities are not one-sided—I tell and you do. Help them know that we’re all in this together. Have conversations—takings turns discussing or interacting with a common topic or object
  • Remember that their “topics” are valid too. Make time to do activities that the student requests or values.

Ready to try? Drop us a line to let us know what you found most useful. That way we can share your information with others!

Cyral Miller, 512-206-9242 or