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Winter 2003 Table of Contents
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Key Elements for Effective Assessment of Children who are Deafblind

Prepared by Evelyn P. Kelso, M.A., Educational Consultant, ATECH/ASSETT, New Hampshire
Reprinted with permission from in touch, Summer 2002, the Newsletter of the New England Center Deafblind Project

Children with deafblindness or multiple disabilities tend to experience the world as it exists within their immediate reach (Miles, 2000). Many of these children may have some residual vision and/or hearing. However, the combination of this dual sensory impairment limits the extent of interaction they have with people, access to information about events and objects at a distance, incidental learning acquired just by seeing and hearing, and development of meaningful concepts about home, school, and community. School teams must assess these children differently from other students to effectively address their unique learning needs.

Successful assessments should include:

#1: FAMILY PARTICIPATION

#2: TRANSDISCIPLINARY ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES

#3: ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES

#4: ESSENTIAL ASSESSMENT DOMAINS

All of these areas need to be assessed because they are interrelated in their influence on the child's ability to make sense of the world. Accurate functional data on vision and hearing is particularly critical since it is the combined effect of the dual sensory impairment that requires instructional approaches differing from either vision or hearing strategies. Only when the child is assessed in settings where s/he is familiar with the facilitators, routines, and materials will s/he have the opportunity to respond in a way that gives a true indication of developmental/cognitive level. The child will demonstrate competencies and areas where skills are emerging or as yet undeveloped. The more accurate the assessment of the child, the more effective will be the next steps toward greater meaning and participation at home, school and in the community.

Miles, B. (2000) Overview of Deaf-Blindness, DBLink, Revised July 2000.

This article was prepared as a partial requirement of the New England Center Deafblind Project/Summer Institute 2001. The information compiled here represents an outline of the information presented by Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown (University of Kentucky), Patty Mason (South Shore Educational Collaborative), Debbie Gleason (Perkins School for the Blind), Vicki Wilson (Perkins), and Darick Wright (Perkins).


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Last Revision: August 25, 2003