Children with multiple disabilities and visual impairment (MDVI) are a diverse group. The term is used to describe a very wide range of children who may have quite different needs. In addition to a visual impairment, a child with MDVI could have one or more additional needs.
MDVI is a condition whereby an individual has vision impairment along with other disability/disabilities. Sometimes it may be a combination of two, three or even more impairments. It can take various forms. For example a child may have:
There is no universally agreed definition of MDVI. As such, there are many different interpretations of the needs of those falling under MDVI. A working definition by MDVI Euronet Partners is:
'A person with at least two disabilities, one of which manifests itself as a visual impairment, which impact significantly on the person's learning potential to such a degree so as to require a customised educational provision.'
In addition to blindness or visual impairment, a child may have additional disabilities, such as cognitive, developmental, hearing, or mobility impairments. Every student with multiple disabilities presents a unique educational challenge. Teachers need specialized training and skills to understand how these students experience and understand the world.
Out of a total population of persons with disability of about 3 million (2,68,14,994) in India, approximately 21 lac people are categorized under multiple disability by the Census Survey of India 2011.
For children who have MDVI, the combined effect of having little or no sight with additional disability/disabilities can have much widespread implications causing delay and difficulties across the areas of development:
In a nutshell we can say that though multiple disability with vision impairment can affect a child's development in all areas – making his educational and social integration difficult – the impact can be greatly reduced through early detection and a structured, individual need based intervention with the help of special educators, community based workers, therapists, other such professionals and family members.
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