Social care for deafblind children and adults

What is the Deafblind Guidance?

A person leading another alongIn 2001, the Department of Health and the Welsh Assembly issued statutory guidance about services for deafblind people and circulated it to local authorities.

The Department of Health re-issued the guidance for England in 2009. In Wales the original guidance still stands. Both guidance documents are called Social Care for Deafblind Children and Adults, and make similar provisions. Local authorities are expected to:

  • Identify, make contact with, and keep a record of the deafblind people locally
  • Ensure that assessments are carried out by properly trained personnel
  • Ensure that appropriate services are provided for deafblind people, remembering that individual services for people who are deaf or who are blind may not be appropriate for someone who is both deaf and blind
  • Ensure that they have access to fully trained, one-to-one support workers if necessary
  • Provide information in a suitable format which is accessible to deafblind people
  • Ensure that a senior manager is given responsibility for deafblind services

Sense has been working with local authorities since 2001, when the Deafblind Guidance was first issued. We are able to provide information and advice to support the implementation of the guidance. 

More about the Deafblind Guidance

Are you specifically trained?

The Guidance requires that anyone undertaking an assessment of a deafblind person must be specifically trained to assess a deafblind person. There is no definition of specifically trained within the Guidance, but Sense has set out what we consider to be the requirement to comply with the Guidance.

Suitably qualified - qualifications for assessing deafblind people's support needs

Services for deafblind children

Sense has produced a toolkit (Reaching out) for social services departments on services for deafblind children. Our Children’s Specialist Services team works in partnership with professionals, building on their skills and knowledge to help them develop a holistic view of the children and young people they are working with.

Download Reaching out toolkit

Local authority deafblind services

Since 2002, Sense has carried out regular surveys of local authority services for deafblind adults. We have also carried out surveys of services for deafblind children.

The surveys examine the extent to which local authorities are implementing the provisions of the Deafblind Guidance.

Download the 2014 children's services survey

Download the 2011 - 2012 children's services survey

Download the 2009 - 2010 adult services survey

Download the 2009 - 2010 children's services survey

Other reports

Support and provision for deafblind children and young people in education - based on a 2013 survey of 20 MSI professionals working in front-line teaching, and Heads of Sensory Services (HOSS).

Sense provides a range of services on contract to local authorities including training and consultancy.


First published: Thursday 12 July 2012
Updated: Monday 23 November 2015