For the moment in any country there is no comprehensive statistics on the deaf-blind. The American Foundation for the Blind indicates the existence of 252 deaf-blind school-age children of the US. Reporting this information, the Foundation for the Blind stipulates that this refers only to discussed and reported cases. The fact is that such children are not easy to identify – an untrained deaf-blind can easily be confused with mentally retarded children. But only a small part from the number of identified deaf-blind children is brought up in special institutions. Such institutions are very small, and there is lack of specially trained teachers.
In 1931 in the USA at Perkinsky school for the blind the new department training of deaf-blind children was opened. In this institution trainings were conducted only by “Tadom’s method” i.e. method of spoken language. If the child couldn’t learn the spoken language during a certain time, he was considered unteachable and expelled from school. No wonder that in 1953 there remained only four students. Language learning by Tadom’s method is based on the perception of the spoken language of the teacher by the pupil’s fingers. The pupil attaches his fingers to the speaker’s mouth and throat. The current director of Perkinsky school doctor Dr. Waterhouse told that for assimilation and pronunciation of the only one word “milk” the teacher of deaf-blind child repeated this word more than ten thousand times. Naturally, it is difficult to expect rapid language acquisition and accumulation of knowledge in this method of teaching.
A successful experience of language learning from a boy of Perkinsky school is known. The teacher worked with his only student from sunrise to sunset, without knowing a weekend or holidays. During the eight years of the selfless work the pupil has learned the language and primary school curriculum. It is true that he reached great virtuosity in the perception of the spoken language. Placing his hand on the teacher’s cinciput, he perceived the vibration, she told him. But such virtuosity was shown in the perception of speech of the only one person – the teacher.
Currently, in the department for the deaf-blind of Perkinsky school 30 children are enrolled. They are taught by 3 senior teachers, 19 teachers and 14 teaching assistants. In addition, Perkinsky School together with Boston University is preparing teachers for the deaf-blind. There also exist one-year courses, where teachers from the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland are trained. As you can see, it is a kind of international center for the training teachers for the deaf-blind.