An intervenor provides one-to-one support to a child or adult who has been born with sight and hearing impairments – known as congenital deafblindness.

Female intervenor helps a little deafblind girl stand on a large red bouncy ballIt is very hard for these individuals to interact and communicate with the outside world. Many also have other difficulties to cope with, such as physical disabilities and developmental delay.

The intervenor helps the individual to experience and join in the world around them as much as possible. They promote their personal and social development, encourage independence and support their communication. 

This help may be provided in someone’s home, their local community, in an educational or work setting - or a combination of these.

Sense intervenors receive specialist training. Key topics include communication and how to help someone to access the world around them and mobility.  

Who would benefit from this?

It is highly beneficial for a deafblind child or adult to receive dedicated one-to-one support. Families, teachers and other professionals testify that many deafblind children and adults grow in confidence and developed new skills thanks to this help.  

Children and adults with a single sensory impairment and additional disabilities can also greatly benefit from the support of an intervenor.

Intervenors can also offer invaluable support and guidance to families about the best way to support a deafblind person. It also means they can have a break, safe in the knowledge that the deafblind person is being supported in an appropriate, caring way.

What does an intervenor do?

This will vary, depending on the particular needs of the deafblind person. Often an intervenor will get to know the individual extremely well – both in terms of the nature of their impairments but also the ways they prefer to communicate.

For example, this might mean:

  • Helping a young deafblind girl to join in play activities and meet other children at a day nursery; changing and feeding the child
  • Working with teachers to ensure that that a young person can access the curriculum - for example, by preparing accessible materials, interpreting instructions and helping them to take part in a lesson
  • Supporting a young person to attend a local youth group, to join in the games and get to know the other young people there
  • Giving an adult the confidence to live independently – for example, by helping them to buy food and then cook a meal at home

See an intervenor in action by ordering our Sense intervenor DVD.

How to get an intervenor

Sense provides intervenors in some regions. They are also provided by some local authorities and other organisations. Some people choose to use their personal budgets to pay for an intervenor. In other cases, social services, local health or education authorities may pay for this.

To find out more please contact Sense’s Information and advice service who will put you in touch with the right team.


First published: Monday 14 May 2012
Updated: Wednesday 17 May 2017