Skip navigation


DB iconIntervention

The Responsive Environment


A critical issue to be addressed when considering appropriate intervention is to look at the environment as a whole.

  • For individuals with deafblindness, the environment must be adapted.

  • The environment needs to be a reactive or responsive one, not a directive or passive one.

  • Children who are deafblind will lack the information and communication skills needed to have some control over the people and things in their environment.


Components of a responsive environment for a child who is deafblind:

  • The environment is reactive rather than directive or passive.

  • Someone is there to respond to any effort that the child makes to communicate.

  • There are opportunities for the child to interact and form relationships with others.

  • There are opportunities for the child to initiate events or activities.

  • There are opportunities for the child to make choices and solve problems.

  • The child is given motivation to reach out and explore.

  • Continuing stimulation of any residual vision and hearing must be provided as well as training to integrate information from other sensory input channels.

  • There are opportunities for hands-on learning, and activities that are fun and meaningful.

  • Activities are structured so the child can be successful in a reasonable length of time.

  • Enough encouragement and support is given for the child to be successful and to know that he is successful.

  • The child has sufficient time and information to be able to anticipate what is going to happen.


 Effective Intervention Strategies



What is intervention for children who are deafblind?

  • Intervention is a process that creates access to visual and auditory information and connects the child to the world.

  • Effective intervention should focus on three primary areas of need.  First, provide access to environmental information that is usually gained through vision and hearing.  Second, facilitate the development and use of receptive and expressive communication skills.  Third, promote social and emotional well-being through the development of trusting and interactive relationships.


Deafblindness and the Intervener



A process is needed to connect individuals with deafblindness with the world. This connection to the world is possible with the help of an Intervener. An Intervener is a person who works consistently one-to-one with an individual who is deafblind, and who has training and specialized skills related to deafblindness. The role of the intervener is three-fold:

  • Facilitating access to the environmental information that is usually gained through vision and hearing. 

  • Facilitating the development and/or use of receptive and expressive communication. 

  • Developing and maintaining a trusting, interactive relationship that can promote social and emotional well-being.