95% of what we learn is through our eyes and ears. Imagine what it is like to be deafblind.
Deafblindness is a unique disability that combines varying degrees of both hearing and visual impairment. All individuals who are deafblind experience extreme challenges with communication and mobility and most have additional physical and medical conditions. Persons with deafblindness face neglect and discrimination owing to their inability to communicate and relate to the world. They are thus denied even the basic human rights like education, medical care, amongst other needs that are taken for granted by most of us.
There is very little awareness about deafblindness amongst the government, general public and other NGOs working in the area of disability. Due to this situation many deafblind children and adults are left without support and even considered severely mentally retarded incorrectly. What most people do not know is that deafblind children and adults can become active members of society if provided with the right care and support.
Causes of deafblindness
There are multiple causes for deafblindness. Pre mature birth, Low birth weight, Birth injury, Respiratory distress such as hyperoxia and hypoxia, Jaundice, Fits, Nutrition, Infections such as Meningitis and Encephalitis are some of the common causes during birth that may lead to deafblindness
Rubella or German measles can be transmitted from an affected pregnant mother to its foetus. The Usher Syndrome, with varying degrees of severity and progression of symptoms, is a genetic disorder characterised by hearing impairment and an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Another cause for deafblindness is a syndrome known by its abbreviation CHARGE which is, Coloboma, Heart defects, Atresia, Retarded Growth, Genital differences, Ear anomalies. The incidence of CHARGE is about 1 out of 10,000-12,000 births.
Deafblindness can also be caused by Cytomegalovirus, belonging to the herpes virus group, if contracted by a pregnant mother can be transmitted to their unborn child. Poor nutrition, unbalanced diets and trauma during pregnancy can cause birth defects leading to multiple disabilities.
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