Defining Deafblindness

Intro information


Excerpt from paper: Seen and Heard:  An outline of the need to define deafblindness as a unique disability within Scotland

7.         Next steps /Recommendations

It is important to note that progress has been made in Scotland that can be built upon.  The BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 and subsequent BSL National Plan have both resulted in progress in terms of recognising deafblindness as a disability in its own right.  Furthermore, the SeeHear Strategy continues to give a platform for deafblindness, affording representation within sensory loss developments.  VINCYP is now the official Scottish Registration system for children with visual impairment, so detailed and comprehensive registration systems are already being shown to work.  In addition, guidelines set out in the government’s 2007 Community Care Services for People with a Sensory Impairment have served as good advice for service providers. 

However, in the absence of legislation or formal declaration, guidelines such as those set out in 2007 remain just that – good advice, with no real requirement to act upon it.  This results in patchy coverage of services for deafblind people and that is simply not good enough.  As stated in the opening paragraph of this paper, deafblindness is a complex disability, requiring dedicated, multi-disciplinary services uniformly across the country.  In order to be able to achieve this, it is essential that deafblindness is recognised as a distinct disability in Scotland.” 

Click on the download button to read the full report with recommendations for good first steps on the road to making this recognition a reality.


Excerpt from Cross Party Group – Defining Deafblindness Paper

“As previously set out Scotland does not have a definition of deafblindness that is either agreed by clinicians or a social model definition of deafblindness that has legal support. In this absence those working with people who have a dual sensory loss tend to default to the Nordic definition of deafblindness as this has been adopted by the World Federation of Deafblindness and the World Health Organisation. This definition is based on the social model of disability. However, it is important to note that in the absence of an agreed clinical threshold we have not seen the development of clinical specialities such as can be seen in other areas of complex disability.”