Deafblind individuals face extremely difficult challenges day-to-day and require the assistance of care-givers. Deafblind intervenors are specialists that provide care for deafblind people, both in a school setting and elsewhere. So, what is a deafblind intervenor? Continue reading our helpful guide to find out more.

What is deafblindness?

Deafblindness is classed as a disability. An individual with deafblindness will suffer from a loss of sight and hearing on a daily basis, which means accessing information, communicating and mobility while alone can be extremely difficult.

Someone with deafblindness may not necessarily be completely blind and deaf. In fact, most people who are classed as deafblind actually have some hearing and sight. However, even somebody who experiences mild loss can experience difficulties and challenges in everyday life.

In 1995, the Department of Health established a legal definition of deafblindness, which is: “A person is regarded as deafblind if their combined sight and hearing impairment cause difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility. This includes people with a progressive sight and hearing loss.”

Currently, there are more than 400,000 people in the UK who have been diagnosed with deafblindness. It is expected that by 2030 that number will be around 600,000, according to Sense.

Types of deafblindness

There are two types of deafblindness, and they are:

  • Congenital deafblindness
  • Acquired deafblindness

Congenital deafblindness is somebody who is born with sight and hearing impairment, or it becomes apparent within the first two years of life. Acquired deafblindness means somebody has developed sight and hearing loss later in their life. Anyone can become deafblind at any time through illness, accident or ageing.

Deafblind intervenor explained

So, what is a deafblind intervenor? An intervenor for deafblind people is somebody who consistently works one-to-one with an individual who is deafblind. The deafblind intervenor helps them to gather information, develop mentally, improve their communication skills, and establish relationships with other people.

Deafblind intervenors are specialised in caring for deafblind people, having gone through rigorous training. A deafblind intervenor is often part of a child’s education team.

Deafblind intervenors offer many roles to individuals in their care. Their expertise allows them to be leaders, problem solvers, creative thinkers, as well as being comfortable with touch when working with others.

What does the role of an intervenor for deafblind persons involve?

The role of a deafblind intervenor is a very complex one with many different aspects. They must provide information that an individual with deafblindness is unable to gather on their own. Here is a list of just some components of their role:

  • Consistent and direct hands-on support
  • Being a constant communication partner
  • Collaborating with the deafblind individual’s team (personal and educational)
  • Ensuring the safety of the individual
  • Helping to develop social skills and facilitating relationships
  • Concept development

The intervenor for deafblind people will see their role slightly change based on the needs of the individual in their care. If an intervenor is supporting a deafblind person in education, this is what some of the components of their role would entail:

  • Functional use of expressive communication to develop conversation
  • Using all senses available to understand the individual
  • Using planned situations and teachable moments to help develop skills
  • Gain feedback from the individual’s actions as a basis for any future decisions and interactions
  • Transferring skills to new concepts and situations to help educate them about the world around them

 Deafblind intervenor course at Seashell

At Seashell Trust, you can learn to become an intervenor for deafblind people with our course. The MSI deafblind intervenors course is available to individuals looking to take a step further in their caring career.

Our intervenor course is a five-day course and is quality endorsed by the Open College Network. Should you successfully complete the course, you will receive a Certificate of Attendance and can be classed as a Trained MSI Intervenor.

This course is specifically designed for teaching assistants, health care workers, learning support workers, social care workers and those employed to work on a one-to-one basis with a child or young person who is deafblind or has a single sensory impairment with additional complex needs.

The deafblind intervenor course includes:

  • The impact of deafblindness
  • Visual and hearing impairment, communication and tactile signing
  • Development of touch
  • Functional MSI curriculum and environments
  • Learning the role of the intervenor
  • Mobility and living skills
  • Sensory processing difficulties

If you’d like to find out more about the courses on offer at Seashell, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0161 610 0100 or email us at