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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2013 Oct;18(4):446-63. doi: 10.1093/deafed/ent022. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Deafblind people, communication, independence, and isolation.

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Biomedical Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8LT, UK.


This paper discusses issues related to communication, independence, and isolation for an understudied group of deaf people who also have visual impairments. The discussion is based on the experiences of 28 deafblind people in 6 different countries, obtained from interviews that were carried out as part of a larger research project on travel issues. However, the similarities in experiences between countries were stronger than the differences. In particular, barriers to communication and inadequate support, with resulting problems of isolation and depression, were found in all the countries. Equally, deafblind people in all the countries were interested in being involved in and contributing to society and supporting other people, particularly through organizations of blind and deafblind people. This runs counter to the tendency to present deafblind and other disabled people purely as recipients of support rather than also as active participants in society. However, there were some differences in the support available in the different countries.

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