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Winter 2000 Table of Contents
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Texas Interveners Attend van Dijk Training

By Kate Moss, Family Support Specialist, TSBVI, Texas Deafblind Outreach

An intervener is a paraprofessional with specialized skills and training in the field of deafblindness. The intervener is designated to provide direct support to a student with deafblindness for all or part of the school day. The intervener supports the existing service delivery model in implementing the student's IEP. The decision to use an intervener is based on the level of support a student currently needs to appropriately participate in his/her instructional environment. The question of using an intervener should only be addressed after the student is assessed, the IEP is developed, and the available service delivery options are reviewed.

The use of interveners with students with deafblindness has occurred for only seven years in Texas. The effectiveness of the model has been validated, however, through wide-spread use for many years in Canada, and more recently in Utah and several other states. Some states are using this support model in both home and school settings, but each state has taken a slightly different approach to funding these positions and determining how a child will access this type of support.

The Texas Deafblind Outreach Project has made this a primary focus of their grant activities for the next four years. It is hoped that through our technical assistance efforts, schools and families will have support in determining when an intervener is appropriate for a child and how to go about hiring and training the individual for this role. Currently an effort is being made in Texas to develop a set of competencies for interveners, to better define the scope of their work, and to provide school districts with guidelines for using interveners with students who are deafblind. An annual intervener meeting and other training opportunities for interveners and the staff supporting interveners is planned to help school districts use this service model in an effective way.

On November 6th - 8th, twenty interveners from around Texas traveled to Austin for the second Annual Intervener Meeting which was held in conjunction with a special two-day workshop presented by Dr. Jan van Dijk. The interveners met on Sunday afternoon to share information about their work with deafblind children and to discuss issues related to performing their jobs. Much of the discussion on Sunday focused on some of the logistical issues that must be addressed when school districts consider employing an intervener. On Monday and Tuesday, the interveners had the opportunity to attend Dr. van Dijk's workshop. Each intervener was joined by one of their team members at the van Dijk workshop.

A document has been prepared by the Texas Deafblind Outreach team titled, "Interveners for Students with Deafblindness in Texas: A Model of Individual Support to Provide Appropriate Access to Education for Students who are Deafblind." This document was created by families, educators, and administrators in a series of planning meetings held in 1993-94 and refined in 1999, based on the past several years of piloting this service delivery model. This document will help families and school districts make decisions about using an intervener in the school setting with a student who is deafblind. If you or your school district would like a copy of this document or more information on the use of interveners, please contact Cyral Miller with the Texas Deafblind Outreach at (512) 206-9242.

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Last Revision: September 4, 2003