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Trust and High-Quality Interactions

The meaning of being human is based on social contact and togetherness with others (van den Tillaart, 2000).

The development of trust goes hand in hand with the development of high-quality interactions. Trust doesn't happen automatically, even for children who can see or hear, but it is far more difficult and time-consuming for children with combined vision and hearing loss. The more severe a child’s deaf-blindness, the more complicated the building of trust  will be. It will not develop overnight, so patience is necessary.

In order to build high-quality interactions, it's important to believe in children’s abilities and demonstrate respect for them. Physical proximity to allow for touch, especially with the hands, is essential for most children.

See also: Importance of the Hands and Touch

A deaf-blind specialist demonstrates techniques for interacting with a child who is deaf-blind including turn-taking, waiting, giving the child time to respond, and offering her hands with palms up.

Learn More

Building Trusted Relationships and Positive Self-Image (OHOA Module)

Mutual Tactile Attention: Building Trust (slide presentation from OHOA Module "Touch for Connection and Communication")

Offline Resources

Book: Aitken, et al. (Eds.) (2000). Teaching children who are deafblind: Contact, communication, and learning. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Article: Janssen, M. J., Riksen-Walraven, J. M., & Van Dijk, J. P. M. (2003). Toward a diagnostic intervention model for fostering harmonious interactions between deaf-blind children and their educators. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 97(4), 197–214.


van den Tillaart, B. (2000). Encouraging reciprocity in interaction between deafblind people and their partners. DbI Review, January-June, 2000.


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