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Supporting Children in Kent with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Multisensory Impairment

What is MSI? 

This is the term used by the Department for Education for children and young people who are Deafblind.

What is Deafblindness?

Deafblindness means that an individual has challenges with both vision and hearing. It does not always mean that the child or young person has no vision or no hearing.  These challenges can be related to difficulties processing information that the child or young person sees and hears.

Sometimes Deafblindness is referred to as a dual sensory loss as the two senses that provide information about things at a distance are impaired. 

Barriers caused by MSI/Deafblindness

The effect of MSI/Deafblindness is not merely the sum of two impairments of the vision and hearing.  It is often described as having a multiplier effect. 

For children and young people with MSI/Deafblindness both of their distance senses are impaired, and their world can be restricted to things that they can touch, taste and smell. 

They will have difficulties in the areas of:

  • communication

  • access to information

  • independent mobility

Often these children and young people require individualised specialist support and a coordinated programme of early intervention to support their development, access to learning and possibly positive mental health.