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Blind students with white canes waiting to cross Congress Avenue, a busy six lane road.

Project Description

Region 4 Education Service Center (Region 4) and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) Outreach are collaborating to provide Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Katy ISD, and TSBVI Comprehensive Programs, an opportunity to participate in a pilot training project supporting new models for Teachers of Students with DeafBlindness (TDB).  This project is designed to provide selected districts with increased knowledge, skills, and strategies, in order to develop new models for serving students with DeafBlindness across their local instructional setting.

  • Professional Development: Training will include a combination of workshops, on-site visits, video conferencing, and web-based instruction for the Teacher of the DeafBlind participants.
  • Partnering/Buddy System: The project will support a partnering/buddy system for the TDB in order to facilitate a sharing of expertise, experiences, and opportunites for observation in the various classrooms.
  • Technical Assistance: Technical assistance will include a combination of distance and on-site support. The focus for assistance will be based on student, team, and TDB outcomes.
  • Case Study: During year one of the pilot TDB's focused attention on a specific student to use for “on the job” exploration. This was done to develop a deeper understanding of DeafBlindness, and how it relates to the job as a TDB.

In year two the Pilot will embark on a broader approach to DeafBlindness. Rather than focusing on a single student "case study", TDBs will examine students from their entire caseload in order to develop a more global understanding of DeafBlindness.

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Student with camera.The Teacher of Students with DeafBlindness website provides a centralized gathering place offering opportunities for a community of practice, a sharing of ideas, and resources.

There are approximately 750 children in the state of Texas with DeafBlindness. These students require specialized programming due to the significant impact caused by the combined loss of vision and hearing. The unique and varied educational needs of students with DeafBlindness must be met by teachers who have specialized training and knowledge in the combined effects of hearing and vision loss.

 

Role of Teacher of Students with DeafBlindness (TDB)

Model in Texas

2013 - 2014

1. Obtain pre-service coursework in DeafBlindness that is aligned with professional standards.

2. Stay current in the field by:

  • Maintaining a sustained focus on state and national efforts in product development, research, political efforts and resources.      
  • Participating in ongoing in-service to increase skills in the area of DeafBlindness.
  • Joining and participating in organizations that focus on DeafBlindness
  •  Maintaining a resource library on pertinent information on DeafBlindness

3. Contribute to the field of DeafBlindness by:

  • Participating in the ongoing development of appropriate assessment and instructional methods and materials for children with DeafBlindness
  • Building a body of research that supports appropriate programming for this population.
  • Increasing local capacity by working with administrators and families to identify and access in-service training in this unique area of special education
  • Mentoring new itinerant TDBs through the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Teacher of DeafBlind Mentor Program
  • Providing practicum experience to new TDB’s and interveners who are enrolled in pre-service courses
  • Participating in local, regional, and state comprehensive planning activities for systemimprovement with the Educational Service Center’s DeafBlind Specialist and the Texas DeafBlind Project. 

4. In local district, serve as part of the group of qualified professionals in determining if a child meets federal and state eligibility for DeafBlindness. 

5. During the FIE process, assist other professionals with the use of appropriate evaluation tools for students with DeafBlindness. Provide input into the evaluation results as they relate to DeafBlindness and develop appropriate programming recommendations.  

  • Participate in Functional Behavioral Assessments
  • Provide information regarding the impact of the child’s etiology on learning style and behavior
  • Evaluate the impact of the child’s vision loss on the acquisition and use of preferred mode of communication
  • Evaluate the impact of the child’s hearing loss on the acquisition and use of preferred mode of communication

6. Participate in all IEP or IFSP meetings to insure appropriate programming and services specific to DeafBlindness

  • Accommodations for state mandated testing
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Provide the families with information regarding services for students with DeafBlindness from state agencies

7. Provide direct, indirect, and consult services to the child with DeafBlindness, their educational teams and families by 

  • Developing IEP/IFSP’s appropriate to DB programming
  • Developing appropriate in-service, modifications,
  • Administering appropriate assessment

8. Support the intervener model in the district by:

  • Providing the team and administrators with information about the model
  • Determining the need for an intervener
  • Providing in-class support to the intervener

9. Assist local district in child-find activities for students with DeafBlindness and in the completion of the annual TEA DeafBlind Child Count.

 

 2012 2013 4:27 PMTexas DeafBlind Project TDB Committee

 

 

 

 

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If this is your first time visiting this page, the files may take 2-3 seconds to load. Thank you for your patience. For more information on any of the items below, contact Chris Montgomery.

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The TSBVI Outreach Team

Cyral Miller

Cyral Miller

TSBVI Outreach Director
512-206-9242

Holly Cooper

Holly Cooper

TSBVI Outreach Deafblind Education Specialist
512-206-9217

Robbie Blaha

Robbie Blaha

TSBVI Outreach Deafblind Education Specialist
512-206-9232

Chris Montgomery

Chris Montgomery

TSBVI Outreach Deafblind Education Specialist
512-206-9359

 

The Region 4 Education Service Center Team

Suzy Scannell

Education Specialist, Special Education Solutions
713-744-6315

Cecilia Robinson

Education Specialist, Special Education Solutions
713-744-6379

Sandra Connatser

Education Specialist, Special Education Solutions
713-744-6329

 

The Cy-Fair Team

Sandy Chance

Director of Deaf Education
281-897-6425

Angie Francis

AI Teacher

Johanna Borge

AI Teacher

Michelle Muzyka

AI Teacher

Michelle White

AI Teacher

 

The Katy Team

Elaine Robertson

Instructional Officer, Deaf Education and Vision Services
(281) 396-2413

Cindy Bookout

AI Teacher

Marybeth Schimmell

Teacher of the visually impaired

 

The TSBVI Team

Sara Merritt

Comprehensive Programs Assistant Principal

Deanna Peterson

AI teacher, Teacher of the visually impaired

 

The Region 3 Education Service Center Team

Lottie Tomko

Education Specialist, Texas State Lead for Low Incidence Disabilities
361-573-0731

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Although at least two other states formally recognize the role of teachers of students with deafblindness (Utah and Illinois), at this time there is no recognized state certification for a teacher of students with deafblindness (TDB) in the state of Texas (Montgomery, C., CEC- DVI-DB Quarterly 2015). However, there is currently coursework available at Texas Tech University that leads to either a certificate in Deafblindness or a Masters Degree with an emphasis of study in Deafblindness.
 
Two grant programs are currently available:
 
TDB  Pilot Grant, is a state funded collaboration with TEA, Region 3 ESC, TSBVI Deafblind Outreach, and Texas Tech University. It was originally funded in an effort to recruit and train professionals, who were part of the TDB Pilot Program, and who already possessed certification as a TVI and/or TDHH. It has expanded to include those interested in pursuing deafblind coursework from outside of the TDB Pilot Program. Ideally, interested parties should possess certification as a TDHH and/or TVI, and be working with students with deafblindness.
 
Collaboration and Assistive Technology for Students with Sensory Impairments (CAT-SI). The Project CAT-SI grant was created to recruit and train professionals in rural and remote and high-need areas to serve students with sensory impairments from birth to age 21. Project CAT-SI is recruiting two cohorts of 20 scholars each to train at Texas Tech University.
 

 Pursuing TTU dual Sensory Impairment Graduate Certificate - Two Options

                                                                            CAT-SI                                                                                    Region 3

What’s Covered
  • 8 courses: 5 needed for Certificate & 3 additional courses toward Master’s Degree.
  • All tuition, books, required travel.
 
  • Tuition: 5 courses needed for Certificate.
What’s Not Covered
  • TTU application fee, transcript fees and any non-required travel.
  • Any additional costs related to internship.
  • 4 additional courses required to complete Master’s Degree in Special Education.
 
  • Additional courses needed for Master’s Degree.
  • All other fees associated with training.
Timeline
  • Cohort 1:  Begins Spring of 2016 in January. Grant will support 2.5 years in the prospective program. Cohort end date is May 2018.
  • Cohort 2:  Begins Spring of 2018 in January.  Grant will support 2.5 years in the prospective program.  Cohort end date May of 2020.
  • Designed to be completed in 2.5 years, taking 1-2 classes a semester, including some summer courses.
 
  • Completion time varies by individual.
  • Encouraged to complete courses as they are offered.
  • The continuation of this project is contingent upon the availability of funds.
Requirements
  • Bachelor’s Degree due to Graduate coursework.
  • Must be a highly qualified teacher with a General or Special Ed certification or licensure.
  • Acceptance into TTU Graduate School
  • Commit to completing the program within the established timeline.
  • Commit to working with students with sensory impairments for at least 2 years for each year of scholarship received.
 
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Most students hold a teaching certificate; however, it is not required.
  • Acceptance into TTU Graduate School.
 
How To Apply
  • Contact Cyral Miller, Texas collaborative partner, for application. 
  • Application return deadline of October 23, 2015.
  • Contact Lottie Tomko for application. 

 

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Program Overview

In an effort to establish local support and build local capacity for teachers of students with deafblindness, TSBVI has developed the Teacher of the Deafblind Pilot Project. TSBVI Outreach, accepts applications for two-year technical assistance projects on a revolving basis. Please contact Deafblind Outreach for more information.

The Teacher of Deafblind Pilot Project’s goal has been to provide participating teachers and districts with increased knowledge, skills, and strategies in order to develop improved models for serving students with deafblindness. The project includes the expectation of raising the awareness of and the efficacy for a dedicated professional to work with students with deafblindness at a state and local level. The Pilot provides a structured approach to technical assistance for districts that identified a role for highly qualified TDB’s in the IEP process. Most importantly, the project strives to provide quality support for students and their families.

 


TDB Pilot Program Description

The Teacher of Deafblind program provides Regional Service Centers, and local districts, opportunities for partnering and participation in support of new models for teachers of students with deafblindness (TDB). Measurable outcomes will be determined in the areas of: Student Impact, Teacher Impact, and Systems Impact.

The program will be based on a two-year cycle and consist of three in-service dates per year (six total). In-service dates will be supported with on-site technical assistance and distance mentoring. A range of training topics will be presented based on local team needs and established roles of the TDB. Models for both itinerant and self-contained TDB models will be supported, depending on district and student needs.

This program was Developed by TSBVI, Outreach Dept. For further information or inquiries contact Chris Montgomery at .

 


Project Goals and Expected Outcomes

  • Provide participating teachers and districts with increased knowledge, skills, and strategies in order to develop improved models for serving students with deafblindness.
  • Provide a structured approach to technical assistance for districts that identify the need for highly qualified TDB’s in the FIE – ARD - IEP process.
  • Develop teachers who are highly trained in dual sensory impairments, and have the improved understanding of the impact of deafblindness, and the ability to communicate effectively to all team members.
  • Develop improved understanding of the Roles of the TDB from both a team and district wide perspective.
  • Establish local team models, that include school personnel, parents, and outside agencies, who support the unique needs of students with deafblindness.
  • Increased family involvement in IEP planning for students with deafblindness.

 


Elements of the Project that TSBVI Deafblind Outreach will Provide

  • Opportunities for professional development: a combination of workshops, on-site visits, video conferencing, web-based instruction, and access to the TDB Project specific website.
  • Opportunity for taking university course work specific to deafblindness, through collaboration with Region 3 Service Center, and a pre-service coursework grant with TEA.
  • Support for a TDB partnering/buddy system in order to facilitate a sharing of expertise, experiences, and opportunity for observations in various classroom settings.
  • Support in networking with agencies involved: ESC DB Specialist, DARS – Division of Blind Services DB staff member, Low Incidence Disabilities Network, Texas Deafblind Project, and the local ISD.
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On this page you will find things like our outline for training, role of the itinerant TDB, and other important documents that specifically pertain to the TDB Project.

The Teachers of Students with Deafblindness (TDB) Pilot Program

Program Overview

In an effort to establish local support and build local capacity for teachers of students with deafblindness, TSBVI has developed the Teacher of the Deafblind Pilot Project. TSBVI Outreach, accepts applications for two-year technical assistance projects on a revolving basis. Please contact Deafblind Outreach for more information.

The Teacher of Deafblind Pilot Project’s goal has been to provide participating teachers and districts with increased knowledge, skills, and strategies in order to develop improved models for serving students with deafblindness. The project includes the expectation of raising the awareness of and the efficacy for a dedicated professional to work with students with deafblindness at a state and local level. The Pilot provides a structured approach to technical assistance for districts that identified a role for highly qualified TDB’s in the IEP process. Most importantly, the project strives to provide quality support for students and their families.

TDB Pilot Program Description

The Teacher of Deafblind program provides Regional Service Centers, and local districts, opportunities for partnering and participation in support of new models for teachers of students with deafblindness (TDB). Measurable outcomes will be determined in the areas of: Student Impact, Teacher Impact, and Systems Impact.

The program will be based on a two-year cycle and consist of three in-service dates per year (six total). In-service dates will be supported with on-site technical assistance and distance mentoring. A range of training topics will be presented based on local team needs and established roles of the TDB. Models for both itinerant and self-contained TDB models will be supported, depending on district and student needs.

This program was Developed by TSBVI, Outreach Dept. For further information or inquiries contact Chris Montgomery.

Project Goals and Expected Outcomes

    • Provide participating teachers and districts with increased knowledge, skills, and strategies in order to develop improved models for serving students with deafblindness.
    • Provide a structured approach to technical assistance for districts that identify the need for highly qualified TDB’s in the FIE – ARD - IEP process.
    • Develop teachers who are highly trained in dual sensory impairments, and have the improved understanding of the impact of deafblindness, and the ability to communicate effectively to all team members.
    • Develop improved understanding of the Roles of the TDB from both a team and district wide perspective.
    • Establish local team models, that include school personnel, parents, and outside agencies, who support the unique needs of students with deafblindness.
    • Increased family involvement in IEP planning for students with deafblindness.

Elements of the Project that TSBVI Deafblind Outreach will Provide

    • Opportunities for professional development: a combination of workshops, on-site visits, video conferencing, web-based instruction, and access to the TDB Project specific website.
    • Opportunity for taking university course work specific to deafblindness, through collaboration with Region 3 Service Center, and a pre-service coursework grant with TEA.
    • Support for a TDB partnering/buddy system in order to facilitate a sharing of expertise, experiences, and opportunity for observations in various classroom settings.
    • Support in networking with agencies involved: ESC DB Specialist, DARS – Division of Blind Services DB staff member, Low Incidence Disabilities Network, Texas Deafblind Project, and the local ISD.
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Why do we need Teachers of Students with Deafblindness?

There are approximately 750 children in the state of Texas with deafblindness.This is a unique disability in that there is a combined sensory loss. Texas has certified teachers of students who are deaf and hard of hearing (TDHHs) and certified teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs), each with a community of practice. However, members of these two teaching disciplines do not necessarily have training specific to deafblindness. The unique and varied educational needs of students with deafblindness must be met by teachers who have specialized training and knowledge in the combined effects of hearing and vision loss.  Although at least two other states formally recognize the role of teachers of students with deafblindness (Utah and Illinois), at this time there is no certification for a teacher of students with deafblindness (TDB) in the state of Texas (Montgomery, C., CEC- DVI-DB Quarterly 2015).

Below are some questions to help guide the discussion on teachers of students with deafblindness (TDB), the differences between an intervener and the TDB, and why both of these positions are needed.

I have an intervener who is trained in deafblindness, works with my child every day, and knows her better than anyone else on the team. Why do I need a teacher of students with deafblindness?

  • Teachers receive coursework in instructional design and educationalevaluation that interveners do not. Teachers of students with deafblindness have a broader knowledge of educational theory, practice, and law.  They can clarify questions concerning eligibility for services and programming for the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.
  • Teachers of students with deafblindness collaborate with the IEP team to determine the student’s need for specially designed instruction.  Interveners, while considered a critical component of the educational team for some students’ with deafblindness, are not required to attend IEP committee meetings and are not legally accountable for evaluation/assessment, ensuring IEP progress, or mastery of content.

But the consultants from my state deafblind project are knowledgable and have provided assistance.  Why can’t we just call them when we need help?

  • The state deafblind projects are funded by a 5-year federal technicalassistance grant. Support from state projects is contingent upon this grant funding. A decrease or loss of funding from this grant would mean that many of the projects would no longer be able to provide their current level of support. Because of the nature of a technical assistance grant, state projects are not part of a student’s IEP committee and cannot determine programming, perform evaluations/assessments, or recommend placement.
  • A university-based program for teachers of students with deafblindness would provide a common core of knowledge and a professional community of practice. A teacher of students with deafblindness certification would allow educators who are interested in deafblindness to obtain credentialing in the field and provide services locally as part of the IEP team.

We have a teacher of students who are deaf and hard of hearing to addresshearing issues and a teacher of students with visual impairments who addresses vision issues on our IEP team. Why do we need a teacher of students with deafblindness?

  • Deafblindness is a unique disability that requires training specific to theoutcomes of the dual sensory loss. While a teacher of students with visual impairments and a teacher of students who are deaf and hard of hearing have training specific to vision and hearing impairment, they may not have experience or training specific to the uniqueness of deafblindness.
  • Teachers of students with deafblindness are trained in how to identify a child as a student who meets eligibility as deafblind, provide appropriate evaluation/assessment, develop appropriate communication strategies, and work as part of the educational team to develop an IEP to address deafblindness.

My district has limited funds and can’t afford to hire another teacher. Besides, we only have one student who qualifies as deafblind in the district. How are we going to justify a teacher of students with deafblindness?

  • In Texas, students with deafblindness must be served by both a TVI andTDHH. Going forward, it is prudent to attach any additional certification in sensory impairments to one that already exists (i.e., TVI or TDHH).
  • Because of the low incidence nature of deafblindness, districts may have very few students with deafblindness. In most cases we see the TDB working in an itinerant model, with some districts using a co-op model to share the services of a single TDB. This model does not preclude the idea of a self-contained or center-based model for districts wishing to form a co-op, sharing resources and/or students, or for larger districts that may have a large student population to form a deafblind-specific classroom.

What if I have to choose between an intervener and a teacher of students with deafblindness? Which one should I ask for?

  • Teachers of students with deafblindness cannot replace the individual,one-to-one work that interveners perform in the classroom for students with deafblindness who can benefit. Likewise, interveners cannot perform the roles of the TDB as a member of the IEP team, designing individualized instruction, performing evaluations/assessments, and identification of students with deafblindness.
  • The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has outlined the knowledge and skills for both intervener and teacher of students with deafblindness. Best practice indicates that  determining the need for an intervener, as a related service, is made through the IEP process.  Having a teacher of students with deafblindness as part of the IEP team for a student with deafblindness would mean more informed committee decisions to meet the unique needs of this student.

CEC DVI Knowledge and Skills for Initial Special Educators Serving Students with Deafblindness

CEC DVI Specialization Knowledge and Skill Set for Paraeducators who are Interveners for Individuals with Deaf-Blindness

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