The Basic Human Need for Closure and Its Impact on Children and Youth who are Deafblind

The Basic Human Need for Closure and Its Impact on Children and Youth who are Deafblind

October 20, 2023

Maurice Belote, Retired Project Coordinator of California DeafBlind Services at San Francisco State University

Maurice Belote joined us to talk about the need for closure for students who are deafblind and who may not have as many opportunities to experience it. Through the lens of self-reflection, Maurice used familiar, real-life situations of closure to explain how it impacts most people. When we do not have the opportunity to experience closure, we enter a state of ambiguity which is an uncomfortable place for most of us. Each person experiences ambiguity differently and for many, too much ambiguity leads to anxiety and stress.

Building on our understanding of our need for closure, Maurice turned his attention to students with deafblindness. Most students with deafblindness tend to prefer order and predictability and many of them tend to have a lower tolerance for ambiguity.

Microstops: multiple and often seemingly insignificant instances during which achieving closure is thwarted and that, when combined can have a cumulative effect of increasing an individual’s stress and anxiety. 
Maurice Belote

Many students with deafblindness rely on others to provide information for structure and predictability. For our students, uncertainty diminishes how efficiently and effectively they can prepare for the future and contributes to higher stress and anxiety. When a child with deafblindness has high stress and anxiety, how can they be available for learning?

Maurice encouraged us to plan accordingly so that students with deafblindness can experience learning in an environment that eliminates ambiguity. This means ensuring a learning environment that favours predictability and gives time for processing. The Belote Familiar 5 Rule is a good strategy to employ for setting up a successful environment.

The Belote Familiar 5 Rule

  • Familiar person/people
    • Familiar location
      • Familiar activity
        • Familiar time of day
          • Familiar expectations