How a person with a disability identifies is personal and individual. There are a variety of reasons why people might identify in certain ways. This may change from situation to situation and it may change over time.
There are many different ways people with deafblindness might identify. For example:
– I am deafblind
– I have Ushers
– I’m hard of hearing and I’m losing my vision
– I’m deaf and blind
There are over 20 ways of saying deafblind. For example:
– dual sensory loss,
– combined vision and hearing impairment,
– Deaf with low vision.
It is up to an individual how they wish to identify. It is important that professionals and others respect this decision. It is also important that people use the terms the individual prefers.
Some people with deafblindness identify as being part of the Deafblind community. This community offers a sense of belonging, peer support and connection. Most people with deafblindness do not identify as part of the Deafblind community. Many do not identify as being deafblind. It can be useful to let people with deafblindness know if there are local deafblind groups in their area. It is important to be aware, that not everyone with deafblindness will want to connect with others with deafblindness.
People with deafblindness communicate in many different ways. Some people with deafblindness may have difficulty communicating with another person if they use different communication methods.
Interpreters and communication guides can reduce communication break downs.
With good communication access, anyone can communicate with someone with deafblindness.
When interacting with someone with deafblindness, respect their identity. Use the terms they identify with. If you do not know what this is, ask the individual or someone who knows them well.
For information about deafblind peer led groups search under “Advocacy and Information” on the Find services webpage