Deafblind American author, activist, and lecturer Helen Keller in 1904
Deafblindness is the condition of little or no useful sight and little or no useful hearing. Educationally, individuals are considered to be deafblind when the combination of their hearing and sight loss causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they require significant and unique adaptations in their educational programs. One example is Helen Keller.
Deafblind people communicate in many different ways determined by the nature of their condition, the age of onset, and what resources are available to them. For example, someone who grew up deaf and experienced vision loss later in life is likely to use a sign language (in a visually modified or tactile form). Others who grew up blind and later became deaf are more likely to use a tactile mode of their spoken/written language. Methods of communication include:
Use of residual hearing (speaking clearly, hearing aids) or sight (signing within a restricted visual field, writing with large print).
Interpreting services (such as sign language interpreters or communication aides).
Communication devices such as Tellatouch or its computerized versions known as the TeleBraille and Screen Braille Communicator.
Multisensory methods have been used to help deafblind people enhance their communication skills. These can be taught to very young children with developmental delays (to help with pre-intentional communication), young people with learning difficulties, or older people, including those with dementia. One such process is Tacpac.