What Treatment is Available for Deafblindness?
Treatment can be separated into two components. The first being the medical or surgical component which often occurs in the early stages of the impairment’s manifestation. The second is the ongoing management of the child by a range of medical and allied health professionals which can continue on into adulthood.
Depending on the severity of the vision and hearing impairment a range of surgeries and devices are available to assist with these impairments. When treating a hearing loss, this may include surgery to have a cochlear implant placed in the individual or fitting of an appropriate hearing aid. An otolaryngologist and an audiologist will be involved in determining the most suitable option for each individual. In the case of vision an optometrist or ophthalmologist will determine the best course of treatment such as laser eye surgery or the fitting of eye glasses depending on the degree and nature of the impairment.
Ongoing management often involves a number of specialists, each targeted at the different areas impacted by Deafblindness. The most common specialist involved includes ongoing management by an audiologist or ophthalmologist for vision and hearing as well as speech pathologist and psychologist.
Speech Pathologists are involved in the initial training and implementation of an appropriate speech method. This can be verbal speech or an alternative method of communication or a combination of both. Some common Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) methods including sign language (Auslan), lip reading, key word sign (KWS or Makaton), deafblind manual alphabet, printing on palm, tracking, gestures, body language and facial expressions, social books, braille, written communication or electronic communication devices.
Deafblindness also has a significant impact on social communication and interactions as it can cause feelings of isolation due to the difficulty experienced by these individuals when interaction with others. A counsellor or psychologist specifically trained the individuals method of communication can significantly improve the individual’s quality of life just by having someone they can regularly communicate with to share their concerns and emotions with. Psychologist will often also work with speech pathologists, social workers and recreational therapists to help enhance the individual’s social experiences and reduce the barriers leading to feeling of social isolation.
Are children with Deafblindness eligible to receive Government funding for therapy?
Children who have been diagnosed with of a range of disorders, including Deafblindness, may be eligible to receive funding for therapy and resources until your child turns 7. The Better Start for Children with Disability initiative includes up to $12,000 in funding for early intervention services and treatments for eligible children. Additional assistance is also available for eligible children who live in outer-regional, rural or remote locations to help with the costs of accessing services. A Medicare rebate is also available for eligible children up to the age of 13.
If you have questions about speech pathology contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns. Contact Us Today!