The feasibility of the use of a vibrotactile device and a time-delay technique for communication development for children who are deaf-blind



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Texas Tech University


The problem most often cited in the literature that any individual with deaf-blindness faces is communication (Wolf, Delk, & Schein, 1982). Special methods of communication are needed to help individuals with deaf-blindness to increase their abilities to interact and communicate with people.

The purpose of the proposed study was to investigate the effectiveness of a vibrotactile device and the use of a time-delay technique for communication development with children who are deaf-blind. A vibrotactile device which substitutes the sense of touch for the sense of hearing can translate a sound wave into vibration. The time-delay technique involves delaying the receipt of assistance or a desired item at critical moments within naturally occurring routines.

Three children, ranging in age from 9 to 17 years, who have severe and multiple disabilities, including impaired function of vision and hearing, were selected to participate in the research. They had: (1) been identified as visually and hearing impaired; (2) been diagnosed to have severe mental retardation in addition to a visual and auditory deficit; (3) had motor impairments that significantly restrict their voluntary movements; (4) had no standard communication skills; and (5) demonstrated a little or no intent to interact with nearby objects or people.