Research Topic

Development, Wellbeing, and Lifelong Learning in Individuals with a Dual Sensory Loss

About this Research Topic

Dual sensory loss, also known as deafblindness, affects individuals despite their developmental stage and age. Individuals affected by this impairing disorder represent a vulnerable group. Because of the low incidence number and heterogeneous characteristics, affected children and adults are often not properly diagnosed or referred to the right education or rehabilitation facilities. Their unique combination of sensory disabilities has a major impact on their orientation, mobility, and access to information, communication, and social networks.

Although “dual sensory loss” is recognized by the European Parliament and UN policy as a unique disability, meaning that everyone with deafblindness has the right to specifically oriented education and communication, education and rehabilitation policies and practices are nevertheless fragmented. We are lacking a clear overview of the latest interdisciplinary research, that could bridge the gap between theory and practice allowing to strengthen professionals’ knowledge, institutions, and systems in their mission to support wellbeing, development, and lifelong learning of people with dual sensory loss.

This policies and practices’ fragmentation is the result of several reasons.
Significantly, dual sensory deprived individuals can be divided into three subgroups with their own focus areas. Classification is mainly attributable to the onset of the dual sensory loss:
a) Congenital deafblindness: from birth
b) acquired deafblindness: after language acquisition (during infancy, puberty or young adolescence
c) deafblindness among the elderly: affecting individuals over the 65, due to aging
d) result from a syndrome. More than 70 syndromes can lead to deafblindness, CHARGE syndrome being the most common for congenital deafblindness, and different types of USHER syndrome for acquired deafblindness

The aim of this Research Topic is to contribute to a growing body of knowledge and reunite the three fields within deafblind education and rehabilitation.
We encourage submissions promoting an advance the field, by gathering novel interdisciplinary research results or offering a clear overview of original reviews and new empirical studies, relevant for researchers and professionals in education and rehabilitation for people with a dual sensory loss.

We are interested in contributions analyzing the problem by different scientific perspectives. We welcome contributions from education, rehabilitation, educational, developmental, and cognitive psychology, (neuro) linguistics, sign language, semiotics, neurology (touch and embodiment), health, assistive technological developments, and innovative medicine with clear implications for the educational field.
The submissions should concern practices, interventions, policies, and innovations that contribute to the overall development, communication, (tactile) language, cognition and learning, social development, school achievement, career, wellbeing, and healthy aging of people with a dual sensory loss. Furthermore, we are interested in new methodological designs in research with people with a dual sensory loss. We encourage researchers to consider the potential relevance of their work on development, wellbeing, communication, learning, and participation throughout the lifespan.

We have purposely chosen to draw on work related to all three groups because we believe that studies on all three can improve cross-pollination of scientific knowledge. The criteria for manuscripts are according to the standards of Frontiers in Psychology. This Research Topic can bring together researchers from different disciplines and places around the globe. We hope the interdisciplinary nature of this research will provide a richness of information that is not yet available, and from which not only people with a dual sensory loss, their families, and their support professionals can benefit, but also people with other (multiple and sensory) disabilities.


Keywords: dual sensory loss, deafblindness, lifelong learning, participation, communication


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Dual sensory loss, also known as deafblindness, affects individuals despite their developmental stage and age. Individuals affected by this impairing disorder represent a vulnerable group. Because of the low incidence number and heterogeneous characteristics, affected children and adults are often not properly diagnosed or referred to the right education or rehabilitation facilities. Their unique combination of sensory disabilities has a major impact on their orientation, mobility, and access to information, communication, and social networks.

Although “dual sensory loss” is recognized by the European Parliament and UN policy as a unique disability, meaning that everyone with deafblindness has the right to specifically oriented education and communication, education and rehabilitation policies and practices are nevertheless fragmented. We are lacking a clear overview of the latest interdisciplinary research, that could bridge the gap between theory and practice allowing to strengthen professionals’ knowledge, institutions, and systems in their mission to support wellbeing, development, and lifelong learning of people with dual sensory loss.

This policies and practices’ fragmentation is the result of several reasons.
Significantly, dual sensory deprived individuals can be divided into three subgroups with their own focus areas. Classification is mainly attributable to the onset of the dual sensory loss:
a) Congenital deafblindness: from birth
b) acquired deafblindness: after language acquisition (during infancy, puberty or young adolescence
c) deafblindness among the elderly: affecting individuals over the 65, due to aging
d) result from a syndrome. More than 70 syndromes can lead to deafblindness, CHARGE syndrome being the most common for congenital deafblindness, and different types of USHER syndrome for acquired deafblindness

The aim of this Research Topic is to contribute to a growing body of knowledge and reunite the three fields within deafblind education and rehabilitation.
We encourage submissions promoting an advance the field, by gathering novel interdisciplinary research results or offering a clear overview of original reviews and new empirical studies, relevant for researchers and professionals in education and rehabilitation for people with a dual sensory loss.

We are interested in contributions analyzing the problem by different scientific perspectives. We welcome contributions from education, rehabilitation, educational, developmental, and cognitive psychology, (neuro) linguistics, sign language, semiotics, neurology (touch and embodiment), health, assistive technological developments, and innovative medicine with clear implications for the educational field.
The submissions should concern practices, interventions, policies, and innovations that contribute to the overall development, communication, (tactile) language, cognition and learning, social development, school achievement, career, wellbeing, and healthy aging of people with a dual sensory loss. Furthermore, we are interested in new methodological designs in research with people with a dual sensory loss. We encourage researchers to consider the potential relevance of their work on development, wellbeing, communication, learning, and participation throughout the lifespan.

We have purposely chosen to draw on work related to all three groups because we believe that studies on all three can improve cross-pollination of scientific knowledge. The criteria for manuscripts are according to the standards of Frontiers in Psychology. This Research Topic can bring together researchers from different disciplines and places around the globe. We hope the interdisciplinary nature of this research will provide a richness of information that is not yet available, and from which not only people with a dual sensory loss, their families, and their support professionals can benefit, but also people with other (multiple and sensory) disabilities.


Keywords: dual sensory loss, deafblindness, lifelong learning, participation, communication


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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