Deafblindness is a unique disability that is more than simple sight and hearing loss. It impacts significantly on everyday living skills, creating immense difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility.
It can be a deteriorating condition that may be often overlooked, misdiagnosed and misunderstood, or not seen as a primary need. The impact of a dual sensory loss is significantly different from a single sensory loss and that is why specialist deafblind services are crucial to enable deafblind people to lead the lives that they want and enable choice, control, autonomy, dignity and self-determination to lead the lives that reflect their personal preferences.
“Deafblindness affects different people in different ways and an understanding of the way that the loss of both hearing and sight affects an individual is necessary when planning and providing services to this uniquely vulnerable group of people” (Standards for Services for Adults who are deafblind or have a Dual Sensory Impairment. Sense/DH 2000)
FACS Deafblind Specialist Consultancy Role can support Local Authorities to:
- Develop and implement strategies to meet the requirements of Section 7
- Find out who their local deafblind population is and acknowledge and address the diversity
- Identify key areas for service improvement and development
- Make recommendations for effective mechanisms to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being needs of the deafblind population
- Provide a consultancy role to frontline staff, social workers, care managers and other adult staff working with deafblind people to support staff to ensure that the unique needs of deafblind people and their carers are adequately met, offering awareness and specialist workshops.
FACS believes that early identification is critical to success, especially with older people whose sight and hearing loss may deteriorate over time, or since the last assessment of need. Once sight and hearing deteriorate significantly confidence to redevelop and relearn new skills can be difficult.