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Winter 98 Table of Contents
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Ask the All Powerful Deafblind Census:

From time to time members of the Texas Deafblind Project hear questions about the Annual Deafblind Census required by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and coordinated by Project Access at Texas Tech University. We have taken many of these questions directly to the All Powerful Census itself, and are happy to report the answers. We will continue to answer questions in future editions of See/Hear; so if you have any questions for the All Powerful Deafblind Census, send them to the editor of See/Hear.

Q: Why do we have a separate deafblind census anyway?

A: Completing an annual deafblind census is a provision of a four year grant TEA submitted to the federal government in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This grant provides funds for many important training activities, and states that Texas will report the count of deafblind students (based on the federal definition listed in IDEA), including additional required demographic information, to the Department of Education (DOE) every year. A nationwide deafblind student census was started because special money has been set aside in the IDEA specifically for training and research projects related to deafblindness. These disability specific funds were appropriated because deafblindness is an uncommon disability that requires unique teaching and support strategies, unfamiliar to most educators and related service personnel. To access this special funding, Texas and other states wrote grants including the collection of accurate data about the students affected. (If you have questions about reporting census information, call Project Access (806)742-2334.)

Q: With so many other reports and counts, why is it important for me to do this one? Isn't it just more unnecessary paperwork?

A: Aside from the fact that the state is required to report this data, there are benefits to making sure we have a good count in your district, and all across Texas. The amount of federal funds earmarked for deafblindness that come to Texas was determined by a number of factors, including the number of students reported. These funds are used to provide individual consultation, workshops, travel to training for both professionals and families, training materials, information and referral, and this newsletter, among other things. In order to retain the current level of services and plan effectively, it is important that all students who are deafblind be reflected on the census. (If you need information about how to access these services, contact Deafblind Outreach at 512-206-9242.)

Additionally, and most importantly, all students who have a combined vision and hearing loss, even mild losses, need individual consideration for supports and strategies to insure they have access to a good education. The first step in providing these supports and strategies is identification. All districts should make the effort to locate these students in order to accommodate their needs.

Q: Who gets reports from the census? Should I be getting one? What do the reports say?

A: Besides the report sent to the Federal government, Project Access prints out reports to share within the state to aid in educational planning. A report of all students who are deafblind in each region of the state is mailed to the vision consultants at every regional Education Service Center. These reports list each student, school district, date of birth, etiology, degree of vision and hearing loss, other disabilities, and educational placement. Additional demographic data without student identifying information is made available to agencies which are involved in providing services to individuals who are deafblind, such as the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) and Texas Rehabilitation Commission. (If you would like to receive a report call Project Access at 806-742-2334.)

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Last Revision: September 4, 2003