Communication and Deaf-Blind Transition

Young adults with deaf-blindness use many different methods of communication.  Some who had hearing before, can still talk, though they may need sign language to “listen.”  Some need hearing aids or assisted listening devices (fm systems, amplification systems) to understand what is being said.  Some prefer to rely on captioning systems like CART, where they read what is said from a screen or laptop.  Many young adults who are deaf-blind do not communicate in symbolic ways such as speech, sign language, or text.  These young adults may be able to use objects or pictures or augmentative communication devices to make their needs and wishes known, or they may depend on adults who understand their behavior and respond in consistent ways.

Successful transition depends upon our ability to communicate with the young adult in whatever mode they use most effectively.  On the resources page you will find a factsheet from the American Association of the Deaf-Blind that shows the many ways persons who are deaf-blind communicate, and some tools and articles that can help ease the transition to a new environment for students who have difficulty communicating.

This video shows the communication methods used by young adults who are deaf-blind at teen events sponsored by Deaf-Blind Projects from the southeastern states.