Interventions for children with deafblindness-An integrative review

Child Care Health Dev. 2023 May;49(3):407-430. doi: 10.1111/cch.13060. Epub 2022 Sep 27.


Background: Deafblindness is a rare condition, and its prevalence has been reported to be approximately 1 in 27 000 new-borns worldwide. For individuals with deafblindness, lifelong interventions and support are needed to be able to develop communication, be active and preserve a good quality of life. Because little is known about what kind of support and interventions can be offered to children with deafblindness, the aim was to summarize and disseminate research findings regarding this topic.

Methods: Integrative review principles were employed. Systematic searches in eight databases and additional manual searches were conducted. The inclusion criteria were as follows: original studies published between 2000 and 2021 examining either interventions for children between 0 and 18 years of age with deafblindness or interventions aimed at children with deafblindness but offered to their relatives or professionals working with them. Studies on support for family members were also sought. Study characteristics were described, and key findings were synthesized into categories based on their similarities.

Results: Of the 6268 identified original studies, 32 were included. The key outcomes from the included studies were synthesized into three categories, with two categories illustrating the goal/intention of the intervention (social interaction and communication, motivation and participation) and one focusing on or identifying the action taken to benefit the child (adaptation of the educational environment). Social interaction and communication was the dominant category, covering 24 of the 32 included studies.

Conclusions: This review concludes that there are a limited number of evaluated interventions for children with deafblindness. In many cases, the interventions were adapted to the individual child's needs, and most of them were found within the area of social interaction and communication. More research is needed to strengthen the level of evidence for interventions for children with deafblindness.

Keywords: adolescents; children; deafblindness; dual sensory loss; integrative review; interventions; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Communication
  • Deaf-Blind Disorders*
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Interaction