Sensory Impairment

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Sensory impairment is when one of your senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and spatial awareness, is no longer normal. Examples - If you wear glasses you have a sight impairment , if you find it hard to hear or have a hearing aid then you have a hearing impairment.

Children may have additional problems associated with the cause of their sensory impairment and need early multi-disciplinary intervention. Emotional and practical support is needed for families to make fully informed choices. Those with and without sensory impairment need the same access to mental health services and this is particularly difficult to achieve for deaf and deaf–blind people.

A person does not have to have full loss of a sense to be sensory impaired.

What is dual sensory impairment?

It is the combination of both hearing and sight impairment. It is not necessarily a total loss of both senses as the majority of dual sensory impaired people do have some degree of sight and/or hearing. Those with a less severe degree of both sight and hearing impairment may also be referred to as having a dual sensory impairment or loss. The words dual sensory impaired and deafblind are generally accepted as inter-changeable words.

When a person has difficulties seeing and hearing then the person can be termed deafblind. Although it is more common to refer to someone as being deafblind if there combined sight and hearing loss which causes difficulties for them with communication, mobility and access to information.

Reviewed December 2022

Related Advice

What is Sensory Impairment Speech and Language SEND Guide for Parent Carers Jargon Buster Vision Impairment - Registering your Sight Loss
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