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Concept Development

Deafblindness results in gaps in foundational information that is essential for concept development. Identifying and remediating these gaps is necessary for progress in the general curriculum. (Robbie Blaha)

Children who are deafblind, particularly those who are deafblind from birth, typically have significant difficulty developing concepts. Rather than learning about concepts incidentally as a result of continual exposure to auditory and visual information as most children do, they require the teaching of concepts to be a significant part of their educational programs.

Concepts are different than, but related to, skills. Having certain skills does not mean that a child understands related concepts. Carolyn Monaco, an educator in the field of deafblindness, uses an example of doing the laundry to illustrate this difference. A child who is deafblind may be able to do laundry—put clothes in a machine, transfer them to the dryer, and fold them—without necessarily grasping the concepts of “clean” and “dirty.” (Miles & McLetchie, 2008)

See also: Experience-Based Learning

William is learning about his own body (the concept of “self”) in relation to his mother’s body.


Miles, B., & McLetchie, B. (2008). Developing concepts with children who are deaf-blind. The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness.


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