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Modifications to the Learning Environment

Environments that promote communication and learning for children and youth who are deafblind are structured to encourage movement, engagement, and interactions with others.

They consist of physical places and the people, activities, and materials within them. Features include:

  • Physical spaces that are accessible, including modifications to auditory and visual conditions that maximize the use of any residual hearing and vision
  • People who are respectful and responsive 
  • Consistency and predictability
  • Interesting (including tactually interesting) materials and activities 

See also:

An adult woman, an educator, and a student who is deaf-blind, sit at a table in a classroom. He has his hand on her arm. They appear to be having a conversation.

The individual who has vision and hearing loss can still build and enjoy a sturdy foundation for learning, and learn to master his powerful uniqueness. The results, however, will depend on an environ­ment that invites and supports learning.(Greeley & Anthony, 1995, p. 185)



Greeley, J., & Anthony, T. L. (1995). Play interaction with infants and toddlers who are deafblind: Setting the stage. Seminars in Hearing, 16 (2), 185-191.

Olson, K., Miles, B., & Riggio, M. (1999). Environments than encourage communication. In B. Miles & M. Riggio (Eds.), Remarkable conversations: A guide to development meaningful communication with children and young adults who are deafblind (pp. 76-93). Perkins School for the Blind.

Stremel, S., Perreault, S., & Welch, T. R. (1995). Strategies for classroom and community. In K. M. Huebner, J. G. Prickett, T. R. Welch, & E. Joffee, (Eds.), Hand in hand: Essentials of communication and orientation and mobility for your students who are deaf-blind (pp. 411-441). AFB Press.


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