Complex Needs

Learn more about deafblindness, blindness and multiple disabilities, complex needs, CVI, and ASD when blind or low vision.


A boy sitting on a sensory mat playing with various balls.

Deafblindness: An Overview and Resources

Understanding Deafblindness Deafblindness is often misunderstood. Rather than a specific diagnosis from a medical team, deafblindness is a level of combined hearing and vision impairment that impacts a person’s ability […]

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Frog on lily pad.

“What Did You Say About Frogs”?: Deafblindness, An Incomplete Introduction

Editor’s note: Is your child or young adult an individual with deafblindness? Do you wonder what it’s like to be DeafBlind? In recognition of DeafBlind Awareness Month, George Stern shares […]

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Gwyn holds a colorful round object with her many characters including a large bee, bull, farmer and woman.

Making Stories Sparkle! An Invitation to an Interactive Story Time

Hello, I’m Gwynnie-Gwyn-Gwyn, the storyteller and creator of the Story Time Show, a show that is inclusive of the whole family or class. It’s a show that has children with […]

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Home Life

A child with multiple disabilities in a wheelchair eating breakfast independently.

Supporting the Development of Eating Skills for Children with Multiple Disabilities

Learning to eat and drink can be a challenge for many children who have complex needs including blindness or low vision. The way your child responds to food can be […]

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girl in wheelchair playing with developing toy in kindergarten for children with special needs

Supporting Learning and Development in Children Who Are Blind or Low Vision with Additional Disabilities

Although children with blindness or low vision vary widely in their capabilities and needs, in general, vision loss interferes with a child’s ability to obtain information from the surrounding world. […]

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Teenager using calendar app on mobile phone.

Using a Schedule with Your Child Who Is Blind or Low Vision and Has Multiple Disabilities

All of us are busy. You may use a wall calendar, day planner, daily list, or personal digital assistant (PDA) to keep track of your appointments throughout the day, week, […]

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City bus interior

Transportation Options for Nondrivers with Multiple Disabilities

If your child is a nondriver, they might choose to use a variety of transportation options throughout adolescence and adulthood. There are options they will use with support and those […]

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A teen boy in a wheelchair holding and exploring a basketball inside a gym.

Using the Senses: Developing the Senses in a Multiply Disabled Child

Our senses are our gateway to the world. They are how we obtain information, gain understanding, and interact with the objects and people around us. Suppose your child has blindness […]

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A child sitting on a toilet reaching for toilet paper.

Toilet Training When Your Child Has Multiple Disabilities

Toileting, or elimination, is something everyone does throughout the day, so helping your child achieve more independence in this area is likely to be a high priority for you and […]

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Future Considerations

boy in a wheelchair and his mother enjoying a day together outdoors in a park

The Future Starts Now: Discovering the Possibilities for Your Child with Multiple Disabilities

The Transition to Adulthood Parents, in general, have mixed feelings when they think about their children growing up and becoming adults. Still, when their children have complex needs, those feelings […]

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Back view of caucasian father and teenage son with cerebral palsy walking on pavement in sunny park.

Planning for the Financial Future of a Child with Multiple Disabilities: Steps 1 Through 12

by Steve Morris Step 1: Decide What the Future Looks Like for Your Child You must first decide what you want in the future for your special needs child after […]

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School and Home Partnership

To support your child who is blind or low vision, establish a strong partnership between home and school. As parents, you are the experts on your child's unique needs and can provide valuable insight into their strengths and challenges. This knowledge can help teachers know how to best work with and support your child. In addition, parents can provide important support at home that can reinforce what is being taught in the classroom. By working together, parents

A teen sitting on the gym floor engaging with a large colorful ball.

Children with Multiple Disabilities Need the Expanded Core Curriculum, Too!

Who Are These Learners? Among other sources, the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that over 70 percent of children with complex needs have blindness or low vision as one […]

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child in a wheelchair explores a soccer ball with an attentive adult

CVI Now: A Perkins School for the Blind Resource 

What is CVI?  Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment, or CVI, is the leading cause of childhood blindness and low vision. CVI is a lifelong, brain-based visual impairment that a recent study shows […]

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A baby on a black towel reaching and engaging with a light up toy.

Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children

What Is Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)? Although vision or sight, as a sense, is primarily associated with the eyes, in reality, vision is the product of a complex system of […]

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Zane watching the YouTube channel on an iPad

Behind the Scenes: Mom Creates CVI-Friendly YouTube Videos

When my pregnancy was 8 weeks along, an ultrasound found an abnormality and we first heard the diagnosis “cystic hygroma”. We spent the next 12 weeks questioning everything…and then the […]

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Multiple Disabilities

A young girl putting a bead onto a peg.

Does My Child Have Additional Disabilities?

Many disabilities can occur with an eye condition, even though they may not have been the cause of the eye condition. The combination of disabilities involved can have a significant […]

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A child in supported seat looking towards alight up toy.

Cognitive Disabilities and Your Child with Blindness or Low Vision

Children who have multiple disabilities that involve cognition or thinking have difficulty understanding information and processing it. A common cause of cognitive disabilities is an intellectual disability. It is also […]

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Photo of object attached to communication cards. Cards for Diaper, beads, bottle, toothbrush, cup, spoon and a piece of blanket flannel.

Communication for Young Children with Blindness or Low Vision and Multiple Disabilities

What was your child’s first word?  This question seems innocent enough, but it caused a great deal of heartache for me every time someone asked it. With respect to my […]

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A boy and his shadow on a fence.

Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children Who Are Blind or Low Vision

The term “autism spectrum disorders” refers to a range of neurological disorders that affect a child’s ability to communicate, relate to others, and understand or respond to sensory input. In […]

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