Deafblindness – Definition

Definicion de sordocegueraDEAFBLINDNESS is a disability from the combination of two sensory deficiencies (visual and hearing). Deafblind people suffer unique communication problems and have special needs, arising from the difficulty to know and perceive globally and, therefore, to be interested and engaged with their environment.

According to the Law 27/2007, 23rd October, by which the Spanish sign languages are recognized and special aids for oral communication for Deaf people, people with hearing disability and Deafblind people are regulated, those last ones would come defined as: “are those persons with a combined deterioration of sight and hearing which hinders its access to information communication and mobility. This disability seriously affects the daily skills, necessary for an autonomous life, requires specialized services, professionals specifically trained for their care and special communication methods”.

Some Deafblind people are completely deaf and blind, while others have hearing or/and sight reminds. In any case, serious difficulties in information access, education, training, work, social life and cultural activities happen because of the isolation effect and disconnection from the world produced by the combination of these two deficiencies.

In the case of congenital Deafblindness, or acquiring deafness at a young age, the situation is complicated by the fact that additional problems affecting personality or behavior could appear. Such complications reduce the ability of taking advantage of any visual or hearing remain.

All this suggests that Deafblindness is a disability itself and Deafblind people require specialized services, specifically trained professionals for their care and special communication methods to deal with daily activities.

This conclusion leads necessarily to the recognition of Deafblindness as a different disability resulting from the combination of two sensory deficiencies and not as the sum of both. This is the point to recognize Deafblindness as a specific disability. Thus it collects in the 2004 Declaration of the European Parliament and the Motion Law of the Spanish Parliament (28 November 2005).

As part of the prior internationally work on the recognition of Deafblindness, the DbI agreed a resolution during the XII World Conference on Deafblindness in the DbI, in July 1999.

RESOLUTION AGREED AT THE TWELFTH CONFERENCE OF DEAFBLIND INTERNATIONAL WORLD, DBI, PORTUGAL 1999.

Deafblind International appealed to Governments around the world, so when considering the definition of disabilities and descriptions of different categories, recognize Deafblindness specifically.

Deafblindness is a combination of visual impairment and hearing impairment.

This recognition should be included within the legislation and must refer to Deafblind people’s particular needs, which are different from people with a single sensory deficiency needs.  DbI, July 1999

By statistical comparison with other European Union countries, is estimated that there are 15 Deafblind people per 100,000 population, that means that there would be around 6,000 Deafblind people in Spain.

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