Assistive devices, rehabilitation services and disability policies allow persons with deafblindness to live better – or do they?

Assistive devices, rehabilitation services and disability policies allow persons with deafblindness to live better – or do they? Deafblind UKDr. Walter Wittich, Associate Professor at the School of Optometry, University of Montreal

Efforts across the globe continue to advance our awareness of, and knowledge about, combined vision and hearing impairment, and its unique effects on functional abilities, social participation, independence and quality of life. However, building a strong link between knowledge that emerges from research and its implementation into practice remains challenging. Evidence-based practice in deafblindness is still in its early stages while many stakeholders still often rely on their personal experience and intuition. Researchers, service providers and policy makers often lack the evidence and/or knowledge to make best-informed decisions. This presentation will give a brief overview of some of these challenges, and highlight selected solutions to lead us towards successful knowledge translation in deafblindness and its rehabilitation.


About Dr. Walter Wittich

Dr. Walter Wittich is an Associate Professor at the School of Optometry at the University of Montreal, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His research focuses on the rehabilitation of older adults with combined vision and hearing loss.  Following his Master’s in Psychology (Concordia University) and a PhD in Visual Neuroscience (McGill University), he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in audiology at the University of Montreal. Coming from a background in age-related vision loss, he now conducts research in dual sensory impairment and acquired deaf-blindness.  His research domains include basic sensory science, as well as medical, psychosocial, and rehabilitation approaches to sensory loss, where he has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles.  Walter is the inaugural chair of the Deafblind International Research Network and chair of the Visual Impairment and Rehabilitation axis of the Quebec Vision Health Research Network. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is Quebec’s first Certified Low Vision Therapist.


 

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