The amount of hearing and vision loss in people who are deafblind is different with each person. DeafBlind people may need many different services. Several people may need to work together to provide all those services. Services may be provided by either a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf or a Communication Specialist. If the person is Deaf and uses American Sign Language, they will work with a Counselor for the Deaf. If the person is hard of hearing or late-deafened, a Communication Specialist can best serve him/her. A Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind may also work with a person who is deafblind. The person may need to work with both a Rehabilitation Council for the Deaf and Counselor for the Blind to get the best services. Counselors for the Deaf, Communication Specialists and Counselors for the Blind are all trained to work with people who have both hearing and vision loss. Some people who work at the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center and Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center are also trained to work with deafblind people. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Staff Interpreters are trained to communicate with people who are deafblind and can help when needed.
There are three DeafBlind Specialists who help counselors serve someone who is deafblind. One works with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the other works with the Office for the Blind. They work with counselors of both agencies in different parts of the state. They provide information, technical help and coordinate services for people who are deafblind. They also train people who work with other agencies, places or programs to help people who are deafblind. They help family members and consumers too.
A person who is deafblind can receive the following services to help him/her get and keep a job:
- Testing to decide what technology can help both hearing and vision
- Training to learn to use assistive technology
- Guidance and counseling from a rehabilitation counselor trained in hearing and vision loss
- Finding out what can help a person at the job site
- Training to improve communication and deal with problems
- Help to get services from other agencies
- Help to decide what the person’s abilities & interests are
- Support services (interpreters, notetakers, etc.) while a person goes to school
- Training and preparation for a job
- Help to learn job tasks and be successful at work.
Through the efforts of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Blind staff working with the consumer, many deafblind people are working successfully. More and more deafblind people are getting jobs as well.