Question #2
What are the causes or etiologis of deaf-blindness?


        The Arizona Deafblind Project. (1999, June 23). [Online]. Available: (1999)

        Baldwin, V. (1994). Annual Deaf-Blind Census. Monmouth, O.R.: Teaching Research Division

        Edwards, L. E. Goehl, K. S., Gordon, L. A. (1992). Profiles: Individuals with Deaf-Blindness. Terre Haute, I. N.: Indiana Deaf-Blind Service Project.

        NTAC, The National Technical Assistance Consortium for Children and Young Adults who are Deafblind. (1998, December 1). National Deaf-Blind Census. [Online]. Available: (1999).


Synthesis of Information

There are approximately 40,000 people in the United States who are deafblind, and approximately 10,000 of those identified are children. It is believed that this dual sensory impairment occurs in three of 100,000 births (Baldwin, 1994). It is estimated there are 70 known causes of deafblindness, including 40 to 50 identified syndromes.

The most common etiologies have been grouped into six categories; syndromes, multiple congenital anomalies, prematurity, congenital prenatal dysfunction, post-natal causes, and other (Edwards, et al 1992, p. 17).

Multiple Congenital Anomalies
Congenital Prenatal Dysfunction
Post-Natal Causes
As many as 80% of the children identified as deafblind are reported to have additional disabling conditions. These include mental retardation, physical handicaps such as cerebral palsy and orthopedic impairments, cleft palate, diabetes, and seizure disorders (1999).


Among the compilation of facts and figures, there seems to be the fundamental principle that understanding etiologies can guide decisions for educational adaptations and instruction. Although a disability may be attributed to one specific etiology, the interaction of genetic, biological, and environmental factors sometimes is significant (Edwards, et al., 1992, p. 17).


        Huebner, K. M., Prickett, J. G., Welch, T. R., & Joffee, E. (1995). Hand In Hand: Essentials of Communication and Orientation and Mobility for Your Students Who Are Deaf-Blind. N.Y., N.Y.: AFB Press

        Mcinnes, John M. (1982). Deaf-blind Infants and Children: A Developmental Guide. Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press

        Moss, K.(1997). Identifying Students Who Are Deafblind. Retrieved July 6, 1999 from the World Wide Web:

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