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Bullet Point Issue 5 now available featuring topics such as development during pre-school years, visual impairment and other disabilities, click here to find out more.

Multiple Disability and Visual Impairment (MDVI)

Why is it difficult helping those with multiple impairments learn? One reason for this generally speaking occurs because each disability affects the other one. Consequently, a child with more than one develops differently from someone with a single disability. For example visual impairment will impact on autism and visa-versa. However, s/he will have,

  • The same feelings, wants and needs as those who are not disabled
  • Abilities which may sometimes be harder to recognise

S/he may therefore need to,

  • Do activities in different ways
  • Learn in ways that are different from those who are not disabled


  • Require support in order to participate in family and community life

The Importance of Learning

Helping a multi disabled child learn will prevent her or him becoming more dependent. By giving a learner activities which are important to the family and community gives a child dignity. It also makes it possible for her or him to,

  • Build on strengths and abilities
  • Communicate and socialise with others
  • Make choices
  • Live in a more meaningful way

When a child learns these activities it becomes easier for her or his family and community to,

  • Form a positive relationship with the child
  • Learn how to communicate and socialise with the child
  • Learn how to assist and include the child


  • Appreciate the child’s abilities

Assisting Learning

You can help a child or young person by doing activities that,

  • Are part of her or his everyday life

That will increase her or his,

  • Abilities and independence
  • Opportunity to participate in family and community life

Ways of addressing multiple disability and a visual impairment are set out in books available from Families and SEN.

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