Blumberg Center for
Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education

indiana deafblind services project

definition of deafblindness

Both the federal and state definitions of deafblindness are similar. They basically state that a person is considered to be deafblind if:

He/she has both vision and hearing impairments, the combination of which creates such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that the student cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with hearing or visual impairments. (1999 IDEA Rules and Regulations 300.7(c)(2); 2002 Indiana Administrative Code 511 IAC 7-17 through 7-31).

The individuals specified by this definition represent a heterogeneous group and include:

bullet item   Individuals who are both deaf and blind as demonstrated by accurate vision
      and hearing tests;


bullet item   Individuals who have hearing and visual impairments of a mild to severe degree
      and additional learning and/or language disabilities that adversely affect
      educational performance;

bullet item   Individuals who may have been diagnosed as having a degenerative pathology
      or disease which will affect vision and/or hearing acuity, resulting in both visual
      and hearing impairments that adversely affect educational performance; and,


bullet item   Individuals with multiple disabilities due to central nervous system dysfunction
      who exhibit auditory and visual impairments or deficits in auditory-visual functioning,
      and who may demonstrate inconclusive responses during evaluations or in the
      natural environment.

This is a functional definition of deafblindness. What this means is that, in Indiana, a person is considered deafblind for purposes of receiving services from the deafblind project if: they have both a documented vision and a documented hearing impairment ranging from mild to severe; OR, they function as if they have both a hearing and vision loss, based upon inconsistent responses to auditory and visual stimuli in the environment or inconclusive responses during hearing and vision evaluations. A conclusion that a child is functionally deafblind may be reached based upon an educational evaluation for purposes of initially reporting that child to the Deafblind Project.


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