The Deafblind Studies programme is the result of cooperative partnership between different agencies, each with complimentary interests in deafblindness. The consortium currently comprises Deafblind Scotland, Sense and Sense Scotland.
This project was initiated to:
- address the frustration felt by deafblind people, practitioners and voluntary agencies (working in the field of deafblindness) which resulted from the poor standards of knowledge and expertise that were evident in the social care sector; the sector charged with delivering services to deafblind people. The direct result of these issues was a continual catalogue of omissions and mistakes in the type and level of service offered to deafblind people of all ages, both in the community and in care environments. Over a two year period of part-time study, this course enables students to explore and challenge issues, guided by skilled practitioners and supported by deafblind people. The second year in particular extends the barriers of thinking and practice in this unique area.
- ensure that this highly skilled and specialist area of work is supported by a recognisable professional qualification. The partners had felt that the opportunities to learn and gain qualifications in this area was limited and did not reflect the complexity of issues faced by deafblind people and those who support them.
The field of deafblindness held a wealth of skills and experience that had never previously been captured or translated into a form which could be formally taught to others. The Partners pooled their expertise and experience, to design and run a course that brings together knowledge from the field of congenital and acquired deafblindness and covers the full age spectrum.
Previously validated by the University of Birmingham and credit rated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in Scotland, the Deafblind Studies programme achieved credit rating with the Open University in June 2009. This arrangement continued until September 2017.
The Board of partners began working with FutureQuals in April 2016 with the RQF version of the programme posted in 2017.
This ongoing recognition realises the consortium’s aim to maintain a professional qualification in deafblindness alongside other recognisable disciplines in the field of sensory disability across the UK.
The successful pilot of the online version of the course between 2014 and 2016 ensured that the programme is available to a much broader group of practitioners both within and beyond the UK.
As the Board of Partners look to the future it is considering how to use the online platform to extend the learning opportunities available to professionals in the field.