Better Together

A Special Teaching School Alliance

Multi-Sensory Impairment

Multi-Sensory Impairment.

Multi-sensory impairment or MSI, is a term that is used to describe that an individual has a loss both of sight and of hearing. It is also sometimes known as deafblindness or dual sensory impairment. Children with MSI may also have cognitive, medical or physical disabilities and challenges which affect the other senses. MSI may be present from birth, or it may be acquired later. There is a variety of different causes. The age of onset during childhood will affect development in different ways. Many children with MSI have some useful vision and/or hearing. It is important that the use of this is fostered from an early age in order to support development.

In children MSI is rare. According to a report undertaken for Sense in 2010 there were 4,000 children in the UK between the ages of 0 and 19 who had significant hearing and visual impairments. This means that approximately 3 in every 10,000 children in the UK have MSI.

Children with MSI require a wide range of interventions to support their successful development, although the level of need will vary. Some children may need help from one-to-one support workers, such as an intervenor or a communicator-guide to help them to access all aspects of living and learning.


  • In your Class of SLD or MLD pupils do you have a child who has multi-sensory impairment?


  • Are you working to support a child with Multi-Sensory Impairment?


The Better Together Alliance is working in partnership with the Local Authority to provide more effective and efficient support for practitioners such as yourself. We would be keen to hear from you as we are looking to set up a practitioners group to support Continuing Professional Development and work together to problem solve and further support this small but important group of individuals learn and progress.

Please contact