A platform to exchange knowledge

A person needs nearly a lifetime to develop a true understanding of all the scientific and practical challenges associated with deafblindness. Thanks to good health, job opportunities, and many great friends in this field, I have been fortunate to acquire broad general knowledge in many areas of deafblindness.

Together with my Expert Team, I want to help you find solutions to the challenges you are facing.

I also invite you to share your successes, as you strive to improve the Quality of Life for people with deafblindness.

Jan van Dijk: "Love to share my knowledge"The field of deafblindness is relatively small, but very complex. It deals with intriguing issues related to the development, learning and emotional lives of people who experience a concurrent loss of hearing and vision.

There is ample evidence indicating that people with dual sensory impairments are often Intellectually Disabled. This is not the case with people who have single sensory impairments. The intelligence of a person with deafness does not differ from that of a normal hearing person. The same can be said about a blind person. These people compensate for their sensory loss by learning to proficiently use the other sensory modality (vision and hearing, respectively).

How do people with congenital deafblindness compensate for their dual sensory losses? Does the tactile sense become more refined? Perhaps, but in many cases not to such a degree that it significantly impacts intellectual growth. Does this indicate a need for new ways of intervention and education? Questions, questions…

Where can parents, teachers, researchers and medical professionals interested in these issues find the answers? Or, at least, where can they find the leads to answers?  In my long career, I have studied these fundamental problems of the human mind. I’ve searched through books and articles, talked to people, and endlessly observed people with deafblindness, but it has been a lonely journey, with many dead ends.

Yes, the Internet has simplified the task of gathering information, but it is a source with many pitfalls. I want my web site to be a beacon for all the hardworking people in this field of study and practice. I want it to be a meeting point, where people with questions can find people who want to share their knowledge and their research ideas. I want it to be a source of practical answers. I want it to be a place you can go when you want to know something about deafblindness.

How will I do this? There are two main ways: my weblog and the Forum of experts.

I will use my weblog to keep you informed about new research and publications, which will, directly or indirectly, help you understand the problems of being deafblind. For example, new developments in the area of neuro-biology are promising, but not always easy to access. The same can be said for attachment theory and the theory of Positive Behavior Support.

And there is the Forum. I am very happy to cooperate with the leading experts in this field: Drs. Silberman, Bruce, Nelson, Janssen, De Kort and van Dijk, R. They all have specialized areas of study, and are available to respond to your questions. Go to the page About Us, to find detailed descriptions of their expertise. If your problem is beyond our understanding, we will put you in contact with other experts who might assist. This web site will protect your privacy according your demands.

Last, but not least, over many years I have built a huge network of friends and colleagues. I invite you to use it. Find each other. Communicate with each other.

Why do I do this? I simply want to return something to all of the people, deaf, blind and deafblind, friends and colleagues, who have made my life so interesting and rewarding.