Behavioral Supports

A young man who is deafblind share the joy of riding a tandem bike with his teacher.
A young man who is deafblind share the joy of riding a tandem bike with his teacher.

Children who are deafblind generally deal with chronic and intensive stress throughout their lives as a result of their sensory impairments. Some of these children acquire varying degrees of resiliency that helps them to manage their stress. Many of these individuals may never be able to adequately manage their stress without support from caring humans who live and work with them. 

There are many factors that impact the individual’s ability to handle stress such as:

    • Etiology of their deafblindness since some syndromes have associated neurological challenges related to anxiety and stress;
    • Early experiences that are traumatic including time in NICU and medical settings;
    • Ongoing health concerns that cause the individual to feel bad or experience pain;
    • Insecurity about what is happening, whom it is happening with,  and when it is happening;
    • Challenges in communicating their distress and having it be addressed appropriately; and
    • Inadequate instruction in and/or the inability to learn by observation important social skills.

It is so critical to the overall health and well-being of individuals who are deafblind  that the adults who support them know how to provide appropriate behavioral supports. Many people think that they can extinguish concerning behaviors by correcting the child. This usually results in the behavior becoming worse or the child developing new and inventive forms of inappropriate behaviors. Taking the time to really look at the challenging behavior and consider what it is about with the individual who is deafblind  is vital. 

This section of the Texas Deafblind Project website is meant to offer guidance and resources to addressing behavioral concerns in a positive and supportive way. Resilient and emotionally healthy minds are better able to learn and engage in lives that are purposeful and joyful.