Deaf-Blind Education

Deafblind Glossary

Calendar Systems

Calendar systems provide a structured way in which to refer to events in a child's day. Sometimes called "Anticipation Boxes" or "Object Calendars", a series of meaningful symbols are arranged in sequential order to let the child know what will happen next. Calendars also provide a way to make clear the beginning, middle, and end of an activity, as well as time concepts, such as before, after, later, and now.

Concept Development

Concept development refers to the basic understanding that is necessary to make sense of one's world. This includes ideas about the self and others, objects, and the environment. This foundational understanding is crucial to communication, travel, and independence. While typical children usually develop an understanding of basic concepts through incidental learning, children with a combined vision and hearing loss must often be taught these same concepts through repeated exposure in an intentional manner.


Federal Definition: Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness. 34 CFR 300.8 (c) (2)

For infants and toddlers receiving Part C early intervention services: Concomitant hearing and vision impairments or delays, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and intervention needs that specialized early intervention services are needed. 

Functional Hearing

Functional Hearing refers to the way in which an individual uses whatever hearing he or she has.

Informal Functional Hearing Evaluation (PDF)

Functional Vision

Functional Vision refers to the way in which an individual uses whatever vision he or she has. 

Mutual Tactile Attention

Mutual tactile attention involves joint attention and sharing an activity or object through non-controlling mutual touch.

Mutual Tactile Attention (PDF)

Object Communication

Objects are used to represent activities, places, and people.  Examples of these objects include:  textures (i.e, piece of carpet, blanket, wood, plastic), miniatures, pieces of the real object, and objects that are exactly the same as those being used.  The student uses these objects for getting information about the activities, people, and places around him, making choices, and/or telling others his message.

Prelinguistic Milieu Teaching

Prelinguistic communication may be unintentional or intentional. In PMT, an instructor working one-on-one with a child uses a combination of strategies to encourage and teach him or her to use gestures and vocalizations to communicate.  Initial behaviors are shaped and encouraged to create more communication and more standard communication.

Teaching PMT (PDF)


ProTactile is a socio-cultural philosophy with its own sets of philosophy, attitude, culture, and language. ProTactile (PT) is about supporting access to the world that surrounds a DeafBlind person through touch.  “Pro-tactile” really means that we value touch for purposes of communication.  PTASL is rooted in touch and practiced on the body.

Tactile signing

Communication method based on a standard manual sign system in which the receiver’s hand(s) is placed lightly upon the hand(s) of the signer to perceive the signs.  Tactile ASL is a visually-based language that is practiced through touch in the air.


Deafblind Information and Education (Coming soon)