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Sense and sensibility

Lesley Brook —

People who are both deaf and blind will be able to learn what strategies work for others in similar circumstances.

Blind Low Vision NZ recognises that people who suffer dual sensory loss of hearing as well as vision find the world that much more complicated to navigate. Michelle Holland is one of the Deafblind Coordinators who help support this group of about 800 people in New Zealand.

Occupational Therapy students Kerri Batin and Esther Taofiga undertook research into the unique needs of the deafblind, including interviewing five deafblind people to hear their stories. The interviewees were asked how they overcame issues they experienced, to share tips and tricks that might help others too. There was a focus on negotiating their physical environment and using technology, and Te Whare Tapa Whā, which will help fill gaps in information which was already available to Blind Low Vision NZ.

The results of this research will be incorporated into an education package, and will also support an application for a grant to build an online platform that provides easy access to that education package.