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Spring 2001 Table of Contents
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The 2001 Texas Deafblind Census

By Craig Axelrod, Teacher Trainer, TSBVI, Texas Deafblind Outreach

The 2001 Texas Deafblind Census, a federally required annual count of deafblind students in Texas, ages 0-21, was recently completed. In January, Dr. Roseanna Davidson's Census project staff at Texas Tech University sent materials to all local school districts in Texas. Someone in each district, often a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, reviewed and updated information about students who had been reported on the 2000 Census, and helped coordinate the completion of forms for newly identified eligible students. In February, districts returned the Census forms to the Regional Deafblind Specialist at their Education Service Center (ESC). Deafblind Specialists reviewed the forms, checking for completeness and accuracy, then submitted them to the Census project staff who compiled the information for inclusion in the Federal Deafblind Census. Each ESC recently received a final report of its regional data as well as a general statewide report.

Most of the data gathered through the Census process is required and requested by the federal government. Additional questions reflect the need for information about Texas-specific issues. Regional Census reports are now being analyzed by ESCs to help clarify regional needs and develop deafblind regional plans. Deafblind Outreach uses the reports to identify trends and training needs. Demographic information is also shared with other state agencies for their use in planning future services. Some facts and figures from the 2001 Texas Deafblind Census appear below.

Number of deafblind students identified on 2001 census
ESC Region  2001 Count

1

22

2

13

3

11

4

103

5

6

6

23

7

21

8

10

9

6

10

49

11

70

12

17

13

31

14

10

15

30

16

16

17

36

18

31

19

25

20

48

TSBVI

17

TSD

11

State   606

 

Number of deafblind students in 2001 compared to previous years

Year

Total

Male

Female

01

606

345

261

00

627

354

273

99

691

382

309

98

775

438

337

97

720

404

316

96

664

380

284

95

594

340

254

94

531

310

221

93

468

282

186

  

Ages of deafblind students
Age Total Percentage of Population

0-2

25

4.1%

3-5

84

13.9%

6-11

200

33%

12-17

192

31.7%

18-21

94

15.5%

22

10

1.7%

over 22

1

0.2%

 

Most common etologies

Etiology

Number

CHARGE

34

Cornelia de Lange

7

Dandy Walker

6

Down Syndrome

14

Goldenhar Syndrome

5

Leber's Congenital Amaurosis

7

Usher I

14

Usher II

13

Congenital Rubella

10

Congenital Toxoplasmosis

5

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

27

Hydrocephaly

21

Microcephaly

19

Asphyxia

11

Meningitis

26

Severe Head Injury

14

Stroke

6

Tumors

9

Complications of Prematurity

97

 

Visual Impairment
Visual Status Number
Vision better than 20/70 in better eye with correction 48
Low Vision (visual acuity of 20/70-20/200 in better eye with correction) 74
Legally Blind (visual acuity of 20/200 or less or field restriction of 20 degrees or less 298
Light Perception Only 37
Totally Blind 65
Further Testing Needed 18
Tested Results Nonconclusive 32 
Not Tested and At Risk (Documented hearing loss and at risk for VI) 7
Cortically Visually Impaired 165
Diagnosed Progressive Loss 75
Wears Glasses 233

 

Hearing Impairment
Hearing Status Number
Very Mild (15-25 dB loss) 13
Mild (26-40 dB loss) 45
Moderate (41-55 dB loss) 73
Moderately Severe (56-70 dB loss) 81
Severe (71-90 dB loss) 97
Profound (91+ dB loss) 106
Further Testing Needed 36
Tested - Results Nonconclusive 55
Not Tested and At Risk (Documented VI and at risk for hearing loss) 94
Central Auditory Processing Disorder 65
Diagnosed Progressive Loss 41
Uses Amplification 274

 

Additional Disabilities

Category

Number

Physical Impairments

 381

Cognitive Impairments

 399

Behavior Disorders

 16

Complex Health Needs

 253

Other Impairments

 188

 

Living Setting

Residence

 Number

Birth/Adoptive Family

 540

Extended Family

19

Foster Family

 17

Group/Nursing Home, State/Private Facility

 23

Other or Not Reported

7

 

Has a Designated Intervener

Status

 Number

  Percentage

Yes

 43

  7.1%

No

 389

  64.2%

Unknown

 174

  28.7%

Here are some things the Census data tells us about identification of children and youth with deafblindness in Texas.

After a peak of 775 students were identified in 1998, the number has dropped every year, to 606 in 2001. While the decline may result in part from students being taken off the Census after assessments conclusively ruled out vision and hearing losses, this may not always be the case. Of the 62 students deleted from this year's Census who continue in special education, 31 have documented visual impairments with hearing classifications of "further testing needed to determine hearing impairment," "tested - results nonconclusive," or "not tested and at risk." How many of these students were tested for a hearing loss before being removed?

The federal government projects the number of deafblind students in a geographic area using a formula of 2 to 3 students with deafblindness per 1,000 students receiving special education services. According to TEA, 482,427 students received special education services in the 1999-2000 school year. If the federal projections are correct, there should be between 965 and 1447 deafblind students in Texas. Where are they?

There appears to be a significant, chronic undercount of 0-2 year olds. In response, representatives from several agencies will soon meet to discuss this issue. These will include the Texas Department of Health, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) , Texas Education Agency, the Interagency Council on Early Childhood Intervention, the Three Low Incidence Disabilities Decentralized Function at Education Service Center Region 3, the Deafblind Census Project at Texas Tech University, and the Deafblind and VI Outreach Projects at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Usher Syndrome (Type I and II), a leading cause of deafblindness, is estimated by some to occur in 3-6% of the congenitally deaf or hard of hearing population. 2785 of the 4508 students reported on the 1999-2000 Texas State Survey of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students were born deaf or hard of hearing. (This number does not include congenitally deaf or hard of hearing students who are in their local school districts and not being served by Regional Day School Programs for the Deaf.) 3% of 2785 is 83. There are currently only 27 students diagnosed with Usher Syndrome on the 2001 Texas Deafblind Census.

More optimistically, the number of students who are deafblind from Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) decreased from 43 in 1994 to 10 in 2001, a possible result of both better immunization and graduation from the educational system of older students with CRS. The increase of students diagnosed with CHARGE, from 12 in 1993 to 34 in 2001, might indicate better identification and understanding of this syndrome.

The Texas Education Agency's newly adopted expanded definition of deafblindness (effective March 6, 2001) more closely reflects the federal definition, which qualifies a student to be counted on the Texas Deafblind Census. According to TEA, a student now qualifies as deafblind who "…has documented hearing and visual losses that, if considered individually, may not meet the requirements for auditory impairment or visual impairment, but the combination of such losses adversely affects the student's educational performance;" or "…has a documented medical diagnosis of a progressive medical condition that will result in concomitant hearing and visual losses that, without special education intervention, will adversely affect the student's educational performance." TEA's complete eligibility definition of deafblindness can be found on its website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter089/ch089aa.html, provision §89.1040. Eligibility Criteria.

In light of these changes, will the number of students counted on the Texas Deafblind Census increase? We'll let you know in 2002. Meanwhile, if you have questions about whether or not a child should be included on the Texas Deafblind Census, please contact the Deafblind Specialist at your Education Service Center (below), Dr. Roseanna Davidson at Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2334, or any of the Texas Deafblind Outreach Staff. Students can be added to the Census at any time.

ESC Contacts and Phone Numbers

ESC Reg.

 Specialist(s)

  Phone

Region 1

  Peter Graves

  (956) 984-6165

Region 2

  Joyce West

  (361) 561-8524

Region 3

  Brian Jones

  (361) 573-0731

Region 4

  Susan Parker

  (713) 744-6398

Region 5

  Dion Potter

  (409) 386-5514

Region 6

  Nodya Thornton

  (409) 435-2195

Region 7

  Ann Phillips

  (903) 984-3071

Region 8

  Donna Clopton

  (903) 572-8551

Region 9

  Tricia Lee

  (940) 322-6928

Region 10

  Heidi King

  (972) 348-1598

Region 11

  Peggy McNairn

  (817) 740-7594

Region 12

  Tina Herzberg

  (254) 666-0707

Region 13

  Chrissy Cowan

  (512) 919-5317

Region 14

  Billy Sealey

  (915) 675-8636

Region 15

  Brenda Morris

  (915) 658-6571

Region 15

  Debbie Louder

  (915) 658-6571

Region 16

  Stormetta Stateler

  (806) 376-5521

Region 17

  Mary Jo Lovingier

  (806) 792-4000

Region 17

  Sharon Trusty

  (806) 792-4000

Region 18

  Bouneva Mayo

  (912) 563-2380

Region 19

  Olivia Schonberger

  (915) 780-5344

Region 20

  Deborah Thompson

  (210) 370-5453


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Last Revision: September 1, 2003