New courses aim to improve care for deafblind population

A new package of specialist courses is being launched with the aim of improving care for those impacted by combined hearing and sight loss.

Birmingham City University is introducing the new programmes in partnership with national charities to help social workers and other social care professionals better support members of the UK’s deafblind population.

Deafblindness is a combination of sight and hearing loss affecting a person’s ability to communicate, access information and get around.

While the condition can affect people of all ages, including children, it mostly affects older people as sight and hearing commonly worsen with increased age. It is estimated there are around 400,000 deafblind people in the UK, but this is expected to increase to 600,000 by 2030 mainly due to the country’s ageing population.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

Launching in March this year, the University is rolling out a Certificate in Professional Studies (Deafblind Studies), outlining different aspects of deafblindness and its impact on individuals and covering the rights and needs of people who are deafblind.

A Diploma in the same subject – open to those who complete the Certificate and building on the skills and knowledge gained from that course – will start in March 2023.

Practitioners, academics and researchers working in the field of deafblindness have designed both courses, which have been developed with and endorsed by Deafblind UK, the charity that represents and advocates for people living with combined sight and hearing loss.

Dr Peter Simcock, Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Course Leader for Deafblind Studies at Birmingham City University, said: ‘People who are deafblind often have unique needs, distinct from those with single sensory impairments, so it’s important that those working to support them understand the condition and get to grips with the legislation that exists to secure deafblind people’s right to specialist care and support.

‘That is why we have introduced these new courses and we are delighted to have done so alongside our expert colleagues from Deafblind UK, Deafblind Scotland, Sense and Sense Scotland.’

Photo by Green Chameleon


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