Nordic Network on Cognition in Relation to Congenital Deafblindness
It is difficult to assess cognitive ability in people with deafblindness. Expressions can be difficult to interpret, especially early on in children with congenital deafblindness. The objective of the work carried out by the Nordic Network on Cognition is to improve the competence of professionals so that they can better understand, observe, describe and assess cognitive abilities in people with deafblindness.
The Nordic Network on Cognition in Relation to Congenital Deafblindness, or Network on Cognition, was established in 2008. The network has focused on individuals with congenital deafblindness as well as on those with acquired deafblindness and potential cognitive impairment. In both cases, tools and analytical models are largely lacking.
The main purpose of the network is to increase professional competence in order to understand cognitive development, identify cognition, and recognise the relationship to learning and functioning in everyday life in people with congenital deafblindness.
Increased knowledge about tactile cognition
Because tactile modality is of considerable importance for those with deafblindness, the network has focused intensively on increasing knowledge about physical tactile cognition. It has also endeavoured to develop methods and guidelines that can be applied in optimal environments, along with knowledge about deafblind communication.
The network consists of educators and psychologists who work clinically or conduct research in the field of deafblindness. Some members of the network are affiliated with universities, conduct research and collaborate with other professionals in the field. Other members are clinicians and practitioners working in the field, psychologists, educational specialists and supervisors involved in assessments and intervention planning.
Development of assessment tools
Since people with congenital deafblindness form a diverse, small-scale and heterogeneous group, collaboration and knowledge sharing at the Nordic and international levels offer substantial benefits.
Cognitive delays are common for people with congenital deafblindness. Formal cognitive assessment tools used for individuals with normal vision and hearing may not be suitable for people with deafblindness. Therefore, the network has developed tools for assessing cognition. The book Revealing hidden potentials – Assessing cognition in individuals with congenital deafblindness was published in 2020.