They understand what they are from feeling hunger and sleepiness. They feel emotions just like everyone else. I know because deafblind people feel intense feelings of frusteration from not being able to communicate or navigate.
In fact deafblind people even think like humans do. However they cannot think visually or linguistically, so they think cerebrally. This is a universal way of thinking that is thought in the purest form.
Their existence is limited to touch. They can feel doorknobs and over time learn that there are rooms inside those doorknobs. They learn to grasp forks like everyone else, to flush a toilet, to run and skip. They still have the gift of movement. Movement is their way of expressing their thoughts and feelings while touch is their way of getting to know the world.
Eventually they also become aware of the dangers they cannot see or hear. That must be more frightening than anything. Imagine the shock of a dog sinking its teeth into your arm without seeing or hearing it. You only feel the pain of your punctured flesh and the shock of what happened. So yes, this is another form of existence.
Deafblind people might not ever be one hundred percent able to know what existence really is without having sight and hearing. However they do know that there is a world with people and all kinds of things and ideas in it, it just takes them longer to learn it. They have a different perception but they still have a perception.
Deafblind people eventually learn that there is a big wide world out there with color, shapes, sounds, etc. They learn about sounds from vibrations. They learn communication techniques by learning braille, sign language and finger spelling. This enables them to communicate with others and as their vocabulary progresses they learn more and more ideas to build a better picture of what the world is really like.
To better understand what it is like to be deaf and blind maybe one day you should try putting on a pair of earmuffs and a blindfold.
You can ask people like Helen Keller this question...maybe they could help you out lol...
Well, I know someone who is blind and deaf and he has a job at a museum. Cool eh?
Read the story of Helen Keller, "The Miracle Worker."
My daughter is deafblind and has been deaf blind since birth. There are varying degrees of deafness and blindness. Someone who is considered blind may have much of their vision and the same with deafness. They truly experience life differently than the sighted and hearing but live very fulfilling lives with a tremendously high quality to them. Helen Keller was not born deafblind, she became deafblind due to illness so she had previous experience (albeit brief) to pull from. Some concepts may be totally lost on someone who is deafblind but, it means they can live without it or have figured out a way to experience it differently. Try and experiment of being blindfolded and earplugs to give you a reference of what life might be like for someone who is deafblind. It might open your eyes...
Yes, They Can, There is technology out there that can help them learn even though they are deaf and blind. If you want more information, there are books with stuff like that in there.
If you can please read the biography of Helen Keller. She was deaf and blind shortly after birth. Until her parents got her a home school teacher she pretty much did what she wanted but her family tried to communicate with her. She lived in a very dark world until her teacher came. The answer to your question? They only know things that they touch or in Helen's case when her Mom would try to communicate with her. Your local library would be a good place to start and find her book. She wrote the book herself with the help of her teacher. Let me know if this has helped you and if you were able to find her books. She wrote I believe about 5 books. Also Helen will tell you in her book about her life so it will help you understand more about what it was like for her before her teacher came.
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