Multiple Disabilities


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. In this section, families and educators will find introductions to the educational needs of these students, as well as best practice and policy overviews.

Below is a list of topics you’ll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.

 General Resources

Curriculum Access for Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities: The Promise of UDL, CAST Universal Design for Learning
In this primer on the Universal Design for Learning framework, Dr. Richard Jackson argues that creating a curriculum that accommodates students with low-incidence disabilities is beneficial to all learners.


Expansion of the Role of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments: Providing for Students Who Also Have Severe/Multiple Disabilities, Council of Exceptional Children/Division on Visual Impairments (DVI) (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
This 7-page position paper by Rosanne Silberman outlines the competencies for teachers of students with visual impairments, and the additional skills necessary when children have other disabilities.

Tips for Home or School: Best Educational Practices for Students with Severe & Multiple Disabilities, Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project
This one-page tip sheet identifies key components of best practices, including functional age-appropriate curricula, inclusion, behavior issues, transition planning, and parent involvement.


Untangling the Threads: When a Blind Child has Additional Disabilities, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
A mother realized her own low expectations limited the independence of her daughter with multiple disabilities, and describes how she encourages the child to do more for herself. This is an entry from the listserv sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children.


 Web-Based Organizations & Internet Resources

Multiple Disabilities, Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This site is a resource for parents, featuring a range of articles and links on communication, socialization, orientation and mobility, and transition, and more.


National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
NCDB “works collaboratively with families, federal, state and local agencies to provide technical assistance, information and personnel training.” This site offers a broad range of information on all topics related to children and youth with deafblindness, including communication, behavior, assessment, and educational practices.


National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities (NCSSD)
NCSSD is a “resource center for information, training and technical assistance for families and educators of … children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, visually impaired, or who have severe disabilities.”


TASH is “an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm.” Topics on their site include positive behavior support, inclusive education, communication, and community living.


Research at the National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities, National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities (NCSSD)
This page has links to research-based practices, emerging research, and dissertations on low-incidence disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments and severe disabilities.

One thought on “Multiple Disabilities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>