The role of an intervenor is a specialist one, promoting independence and supporting people who are deaf-blind or multi-sensory impaired (MSI) to maximise their potential to learn, live and contribute in a hearing/sighted world, where otherwise they would find themselves socially excluded.

It is a role that can support children, young people and adults to have equal access to education, the community or across both. Multi-sensory impairment is a functional term that is frequently used alongside or interchangeably with deaf-blindness by teachers, social workers and families, because it communicates more effectively the impact of deaf-blindness. Understanding the impact can assist service planning.

A trained intervenor will understand the impact of multi-sensory impairment on the developing child or young person and have the skills to facilitate and support communication, mobility and orientation. It is a very practical role which is one to one and ‘hands-on’. Each intervenor has a different challenge; that is, under the direction of the teacher, to adapt their skills to meet the individual needs of the child or young person in an education, health or social care setting, or both. 


​An intervenor will have training in the following areas and be able to demonstrate practical skills and knowledge in their role:

• deaf-blindness and multi-sensory impairment – focusing on understanding the heterogeneous nature of the population and learning more, in depth, about the conditions and causes of multi-sensory impairment

• vision and hearing – focusing on the impact of sensory impairment on the individual's development and learning

• ‘total communication’ – including the integrated use of communication methods, for example, environmental cues, touch cues, object cues, calendar systems, adaptive sign language, tactile signing, alternative and augmentative communication methods and speech

• touch interaction – exploring the ways of becoming a good communication partner

• mobility and orientation – including sighted guide, mobility devices and developing routes

• the role of functional sensory assessment – understanding its purpose and how to make use of it in a practical setting

• the role of communication assessment – understanding its purpose, how to contribute to it and make use of it in practice

• “Interactive Environments” – understanding how to adapt settings, community spaces or the home to be more reactive to meet an individual’s needs

• The role of an intervenor – exploring the importance of multi-disciplinary team working, understanding