University of Edinburgh

Establishing and Developing Communication with young people who are multiply disabled and VI or who are multisensory impaired

Friday 26 May 2006

Main principles for services for deafblind / MDVI children

All children can develop

For children who are normal this happens almost incidentally. However this is not the case for children with MDVI.

Contact, interaction and communication are central.

Focus on competent partners. We need to slow down and work in partnership with the child (partners = parents, teachers, grandparents, etc). You are the one who needs to adapt, not the MDVI child. Maybe we should train the staff, not the disabled child. The child is limited so we have to identify their strengths and work to them. Total communication is the philosophy behind this.

Individual plans based on assessment -

and knowledge on the best ways a child can learn. Tailor made for each child using medical, pedagogical information etc. What can we do to enable functioning in a more complex way? Partners need knowledge to move forward.

Holistic approach.

Focus needs to be coherent. Families important collaborators. Lifelong services (use network model). Use all senses of child at home, in school, etc; speech, touch, airflow, etc. Veery important for basic communication. How do we transfer skills of normal communication to the whole body? On touch commmunication - eye contact - not the eyes but the who we contact; eg; African mothers carry their babies on their backs.

Theoretical framework.

Not always necessary to go up the ladder but to allow the child have have many experiences. The most precious equipment in any classroom is the people who are there. Human contact and communication is the central key to emotional and cognitive development.