There are roughly 10,000 deaf-blind students in the US. Parents and educators who work with these children have described the challenges facing this dual disability by saying, “It’s not deaf plus blind; it’s deaf times blind.”
Western Oregon University plays a cruicial role in providing resources for parents and educators of deaf-blind children and youth. The university found out last week that it will get a $10.5 million grant to continue operating the National Center for Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) at the school’s Teaching Research Institute. Jay Gense, the center’s director, says NCDB will be using this money to better synchronize resources across state-based projects through the center’s website. One of the key resources NCDB offers is training for interveners — interpreters who can be the eyes and ears of deaf-blind students in the classroom.
Deaf-blindness is not only rare, but incredibly complex, as there are many different manifestations of both deafness and blindness. Many people who are both deaf and blind also have additional disabilities.