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Deafblind Awareness Week 2020

This week is Deafblind Awareness week, offering a chance to raise awareness of Deafblindness and to help make the UK more Deafblind friendly.

What is Deafblindness?

Deafblindness is a loss of sight and hearing where your communication, mobility and ability to access information are impacted. This happens on a broad spectrum, with some people being profoundly deaf with limited vision and using British Sign Language, while others may be blind and experience hearing loss later in life.

People who are Deafblind have a range of needs; some might need a communicator or guide, a person who provides support, helps them to get around, or supports them in communicating with other people, for example. Some Deafblind people also remain independent with little support.

You can read Deafblind Scotland’s page here to give you an idea of the range of hearing and vision loss, and to explain the terminology further.

Supporting those with Deafblindness

When supporting people who are Deafblind, it’s important to find out what their needs are and to see if you can meet them, particularly for counselling sessions. Some Deafblind people use British Sign Language and would require ‘Hands on’ communication or a Deafblind manual to communicate, which I have personally used during counselling sessions. Those who have some hearing loss might require a hearing aid loop which would reduce background sounds to enable them to hear during sessions.

These are few of many examples to consider while providing support in a counselling setting. It is for this reason it’s important to find out what kind of support people need before starting counselling sessions. If you are interested in finding out more, please visit Deafblind Scotland’s link here.

At Health in Mind, we are proud of our Lothian Deaf Counselling Service which offers a free and confidential counselling service for those aged 18 or over who are Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or Deafblind throughout Lothian. We offer both counselling in British Sign Language (without an interpreter) and also in English. A personal loop system and communication in written English are also available. You can find out more about this service here or by emailing deafcounselling@health-in-mind.org.uk.

This was written by Trudi Collier, BSL Counsellor at Health in Mind.

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