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Deafblindness constitutes a distinct and autonomous disability warranting individual recognition and consideration. Regrettably, the domain of deafblindness frequently receives inadequate representation and portrayal in public discourse, leading to inaccurate and unprofessional depictions. It is imperative that deafblindness be accorded the appropriate level of attention and reverence it deserves within the broader context of disability awareness and advocacy.

Individuals with deafblindness, characterized by the co-occurrence of visual and hearing impairments, possess their distinct language, known as the language of the deafblind. A notable milestone in recognition and inclusivity occurred in Slovenia in 2021 when the country amended its Constitution. Remarkably, Slovenia became the first nation globally to explicitly incorporate the language of the deafblind within the Constitution. In the expert group of the Constitutional Commission of the National Assembly for the registration of sign language and the language of the deafblind, we zealously stressed the autonomous nature of deafblindness and independence as a distinct linguistic domain. This dedication led to the inclusion of the language of the deafblind in a separate and dedicated paragraph, specifically the second paragraph of Article 62a, within the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia.

With the registration, the state recognized deafblindness as an independent disability and people with deafblindness as an independent group of disabled people with their own community, culture, language, and organization.

The language of the deafblind, rooted in the tactile modality of the human body, is a sophisticated linguistic system characterized by its own distinctive gram,mar and vocabulary. Communicating effectively with individuals having deafblindness necessitates a multifaceted approach, combining various communication methods to achieve the desired outcomes. Depending on the residual hearing and/or vision of the individual, tactile communication methods may be complemented with other modalities, such as visual or auditory aids, including loud speech, sign language, and the use of communication aids, among others. These supplementary methods serve to enhance the adoption and comprehension of tactile communication.

In all cases, people with deafblindness adeptly employ the language of the deafblind to accomplish successful communication, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and appreciating the uniqueness of this mode of communication.

Any attempt to equate the language of the deafblind with sign language or to portray it superficially is fundamentally erroneous, signaling a lack of comprehension, ignorance, and limited experience in the field.

The Deafblind Association DLAN of Slovenian has diligently worked over several years to advocate for the establishment of proper status and rights for individuals with deafblindness. In pursuit of this goal, numerous media initiatives and events have been organized, focusing on the regulation of the deafblindness domain. Notably, Association DLAN has taken a proactive step by preparing a comprehensive draft law aimed at regulating the status and rights of persons with deafblindness. To further the cause, numerous publications and books have been released by the association, often in collaboration with other organizations, stressing the imperative of safeguarding the fundamental rights of individuals with deafblindness and comprehensively regulating the field.  Throughout these efforts, Association DLAN maintains an unwavering commitment to integrity and respect, eschewing any form of manipulation, forceful co-optation of the deafblindness domain, or deceitful practices. The primary focus remains exclusively on addressing the needs of individuals and upholding their rightful place in society.


dr. Simona Gerenčer