The Teaching Research
In This Issue
New National Consortium on
Activity at Home for Children and Youth Who
Breaking Barriers in Asia: The Deafblind
International Asian Conference
Accommodations and Alternate
For Your Library
Conferences and Events
Back Issues of
New National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness
The Teaching Research Institute
(TRI) at Western Oregon University, the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC),
and the Hilton/Perkins Program at Perkins School for the Blind are delighted to
announce the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness, a new national technical
assistance and dissemination center for children and youth who are deaf-blind.
The consortium, which began on October 1, 2006, has received funding for 5
years from the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Special Education
Programs (OSEP). It will build on the technical assistance activities of NTAC
and the information dissemination activities of DB-LINK and will add a third
strand related to personnel training.
The goals and objectives of the consortium are based on
requirements by OSEP, outlined in a December 2005 request for applications, for
a national technical assistance and dissemination center for children and youth
who are deaf-blind. Staff from TRI, HKNC, and Hilton/Perkins came together in
January 2006 to conceptualize and write an application. The funding award was
announced this past June.
The consortium will focus on two major purposes as required by
OSEP. The first is to promote academic achievement and results for children and
youth (from birth to age 26) who are deaf-blind, through technical assistance,
model demonstration, and information dissemination activities that are
supported by evidence-based practices. Activities will be directed toward
families, service providers, state deaf-blind projects, state and local
education agencies, and other organizations responsible for providing early
intervention, education, and transition services. The second purpose is to
assist in addressing state-identified needs for highly qualified personnel who
have the necessary skills and knowledge to serve children and youth who are
deaf-blind. Woven throughout the proposal are activities that meet OSEP goals
for accountability, highly qualified service providers, positive child
outcomes, results, collaboration, and the use of effective research (to name
just a few).
The consortium will continue activities historically provided by
NTAC and DB-LINK, and it will also strongly emphasize new activities that
promote research-to-practice and practice-to-research. I am the director, and
John Reiman and Kathy McNulty are the associate directors. DB-LINKs
information services will continue, and the name DB-LINK will be used for the
consortium's information service activities. The following objectives provide
an overview of our activities:
- Communicate, collaborate, and form partnerships as directed by
OSEP and with agencies, organizations, and projects in order to improve results
for children and youth and their families.
- Implement an ongoing, multilevel needs assessment to
systematically identify the needs of children and youth, their families, and
service providers, including personnel training, in order to adequately and
appropriately address those needs.
- Provide national leadership in the implementation of
evidence-based practices to address gaps in knowledge and to scale up current
- Implement an array of technical assistance and
personnel-training activities to build the capacity of state and local agencies
to meet the needs of children and youth who are deaf-blind and their
- Utilize collaborative partnerships and facilitated efforts to
build the capacity of youth who are deaf-blind and their families in order to
promote self-advocacy, personal empowerment, and knowledge of
- Provide leadership in a coordinated national effort to promote
personnel training on the implementation of IDEA and evidence-based practices
in order to address the shortage of leadership and highly qualified personnel
in the field of deaf-blindness.
- Identify, collect, organize, and disseminate information
related to deaf-blindness, including evidence-based practices, in order to
respond to inquiries and increase knowledge that promotes effective early
intervention, education, and transition services, and supports families.
- Expand the utilization of information resources by developing
and disseminating accessible products that synthesize evidence-based research,
effective practices, and emerging knowledge.
- Implement a comprehensive system of evaluation to assess the
impact of the consortiums objectives and activities across the four
outcome domains of child, family, service provider, and systems.
We know that we cannot hope to accomplish these objectives alone.
We look forward to building closer relationships and stronger partnerships
among colleagues and families as we travel uncharted paths toward improving the
lives of children and youth who are deaf-blind. My optimism about the
collaborative work ahead calls to mind an oft-quoted phrase about success that
is attributed to Henry Ford, which I paraphrase and elaborate as follows:
Coming together is a beginning, working together is progress, and achieving
meaningful outcomes is success.
The consortium s personnel, comprised
primarily of individuals who previously worked for NTAC and DB-LINK, have
extensive experience in deaf-blindness, technical assistance, and information
management and dissemination. Many staff members also work on other projects
related to deaf-blindness at TRI, HKNC, and Hilton/Perkins.
Front row, L-R: Tom Udell, Betsy McGinnity, Sarah
Beaird, Betsy Martin-Richardson, Kat Stremel, Courtney York, Barbara Purvis,
Jon Harding, Ella Taylor, Kathy McKnulty, Paddi Davies, Nancy
Back row, L-R: Randy Klumph, Joe McNulty, John Reiman,
Gail Leslie, Steven Davies, Nancy O'Donnell, Peggy Malloy, Bernie Samples, Lisa
Jacobs, John Killoran, Mike Fagbemi, Vic Baldwin.
Activity at Home for Children and Youth Who Are
Lauren J. Lieberman, Department of Physical
Education and Sport, SUNY Brockport
Michael Pecorella, Deafblind Program, Perkins
School for the Blind
Physical activity is an important
part of any childs life. Just like other children, those who are
deafblind need physical activity for recreation, improving fitness, and
building relationships with others. In a recent study, parents reported that
their children and youth who are deafblind often have a great deal of free time
but have limited recreational opportunities at home (Lieberman & MacVicar,
2003). However, with careful preparation and consideration of each childs
unique needs, healthy, productive, and rewarding physical activity experiences
can take place in the home. The suggestions in this article are intended for
children who range in age from pre-school to high school and who are deafblind
with additional disabilities.
Before the Fun Starts: Considerations for Activities at Home
Prior to engaging in home physical activities, it is important to
consider each childs specific requirements and abilities. Parents or
guardians must match physical activities and necessary supports to the unique
needs of their children. For instance, when it is not safe to leave a child
alone to play, a support person, sibling, or peer who knows the child well must
be responsible for supervising the child and helping him or her to participate
in an activity. Anyone who interacts with the child must understand his or her
mode of communication, safety issues, and ability to tolerate activities. It is
also important to ensure that activities are modified to meet the childs
To determine how best to modify an activity, consider the
functional abilities of the child and the objective of the activity. For
example, if a child wants to swing but has limited grip strength, tie
supportive loops of Velcro and elastic or ribbon to the chains of a swing to
enable the child to hold on independently. It takes time and consideration to
ensure that each activity is appropriate for a child and is properly modified
and safe. Adaptations to positioning, equipment, and communication strategies
may be necessary. For example, Julies family received a side-by-side
recumbent bicycle from their local Lions Club. The seat and handle bars needed
to be adjusted for her size and comfort. After Julie and a friend rode the bike
for a few minutes, her parents stopped the activity to check on Julies
comfort and safety and make adjustments so she could continue to enjoy the
Before beginning a home physical fitness routine, be sure to
consult a physician. After that, the next steps are to set up a movement area,
establish activity routines, and involve family members and friends.
Set up a movement area
It is not necessary for a movement area to take up a large amount
of space. Although it is nice to have an entire room dedicated to improving
personal physical fitness, that is a luxury for most people. A corner of a room
or yard is sufficient. Keep the area free of hazardous obstacles that could
cause injury, such as items that might be tripped over or bumped into. Keep the
walls clear so that children can use them to move independently. To promote
independence, give children ample time to explore and become familiar with
everything in the area, including physical fitness equipment.
Establish activity routines
Set up activity routines that are familiar and have predictable
outcomes. When changing a routine, discuss it with the child to make sure he or
she understands the changes. It is essential to communicate in order to
understand a childs needs and desires and to set clear expectations.
Involve family members and friends
Children and youth who are deafblind often experience isolation
(Kroksmark & Nordell, 2001; Petroff, 1999) and need opportunities for
socialization (Haring & Romer, 1995; Smith, 2002). Experiencing physical
activities with siblings, parents, neighbors, and friends can be enjoyable and
memorable and promote and strengthen bonds.
It is important to educate anyone interacting with a child about
his or her communication methods and any specific needs and safety precautions.
For example, Jeannie loves to roll down a wedge mat in her basement. It is
important for people playing with her to know that because she has certain
medical needs she must do log rolls (on her side) rather than forward or
backward rolls. Brian loves to play tactile twister with his family. He likes
to be the spinner and make calls as well as to participate in the game.
Responding to a childs needs and wishes promotes self-determination and
full enjoyment and understanding of an activity.
In a study by Lieberman and MacVicar (2003), parents identified
some of their childrens favorite activities. This section reviews a
number of these activities that can be enjoyed at home.
Swinging. Swings can be set up indoors or outdoors. If
outdoors, ensure a clear and identifiable path to the swing-set from the house.
You may want to set up a guide-wire from the house to the swing. A swing can
also be set up in a garage or basement. Attach eyehooks for a swing to a wooden
ceiling beam or tie the swing around a metal ceiling beam. Put mats under the
swing for safety, and keep objects away from the swinging area.
Rocking. Many children enjoy rocking in a rocking chair or
while sitting on a therapy ball, sofa, or chair. For example, a child can lie
across a peanut-shaped therapy ball on his or her stomach with some weight on
the hands while rocking forward and backward. This activity can be enjoyed
inside or outside on a mat or in the grass.
Walking. Walking is a great activity both indoors and
outdoors. A child can walk while trailing a wall, with friends or family
members as sighted guides, or by using a guide-wire. A guide-wire is a rope or
wire pulled tightly across an area such as a driveway, garage, basement, family
room, or backyard. For information about how to set up a guide-wire and
techniques for guided running and walking, see the Camp Abilities web site
(http://www.campabilities.org). Children with sufficient vision may be able to
walk independently around a yard, nearby track, or neighborhood. Walking and
running can be measured using talking pedometers that can be purchased online
or at any sporting goods store. A Walk-Run for Fitness kit will be
available through the American Printing House for the Blind in the near future
Climbing. Climbing promotes balance, strength, spatial
awareness, and self-confidence. Ladders, monkey bars, cargo nets, steps, and
ramps are fun to go up, down, through, around, and inside.
Bicycling. Bicycling increases fitness and provides
opportunities for socialization. Anyone who has some functional use of his or
her legs can ride either a standard stationary or recumbent bike. A recumbent
bike may be helpful for children with balance problems. Many stationary bikes
display the distance pedaled and the amount of time ridden. Most sporting goods
stores sell them for $500 to $1,000, and they can also be found in health clubs
and at schools. Bicycle stands can turn an ordinary ten-speed bike into a
stationary bike. Spinning is a popular sport offered in many health
clubs, and learning how to ride a stationary bike at home can open up spinning
as a future fitness activity option for a child.
It is well established that youth who are visually impaired are
less physically active than their peers (Kozub & Oh, 2004) and less
physically fit (Lieberman & McHugh, 2001). Any person who wants to begin
improving their fitness level must build skills and increase fitness gradually.
It is important to start out slowly and set realistic goals. Following are some
enjoyable movement activities that promote physical fitness. Most are done
using simple equipment.
Rebounders. A rebounder or mini-trampoline can be used for
running in place, jumping, or bouncing. Carefully supervise the child at the
beginning. Make sure there are mats surrounding the rebounder and something for
the child to hold on to, such as a handrail or wall, to ensure stability and
balance. This activity can also be enjoyed by jumping on an air mattress or a
twin mattress, with the same precautions.
Jump ropes. Children can step over a rope held 1 to 2 feet
off the ground, jump over a rope held by a peer or sibling, or jump using a
handheld rope. Even children who cannot walk or stand can play by rolling over
a jump rope or rolling in a wheelchair over a rope. This gives children who
want to participate in the same activities as their siblings and friends a
sense of accomplishment and belonging.
Children can jump rope to music, drums, or their own rhythm. They
can jump a specific number of times or for a set amount of time. It is
important to clearly mark a jumping area on the floor with tape or cones. A
child with very limited or no vision will benefit from a change in surface
around the boundary of the jumping area, like carpet squares, or from a rope
taped to the floor as a tactile boundary.
Scooter boards. Children can push themselves on a scooter
board while sitting, kneeling, or lying on the stomach. They can also pull
themselves along a rope pulled tight close to the ground or be pulled by a
family member or peer while holding on to a hula hoop, rope, or towel. As with
other activities, it is essential to establish clear boundaries and use safe
riding techniques and speeds. Once children have mastered movement on the
scooter, they can create obstacle courses with objects to go through, under,
around, and even over.
Dynabands. Dynabands are large wide stretchy bands that can
be used for stretching, strengthening, balancing, and gaining spatial
awareness. They come in colors that indicate different levels of tension. For
Dynaband activities, consult a physical therapist or physical education
Hand weights. Hand weights can be used to increase
strength. Small hand weights (3 to 10 pounds) can be purchased from any
sporting goods store. In a safe corner of a room, children can do bicep curls,
tricep curls, shoulder shrugs, side bends, knee bends, lunges, and side steps.
These same exercises can also be done using soup cans as light weights.
Step exercises. Step exercises promote fitness, balance,
and leg strength. Use a short bench (4 to 6 inches high) or commercial steps
used for step aerobics. Children might set a goal to step up and down for a
specified length of time, or to complete a certain number of steps, or they can
just step for fun in time to music. The step should be placed in front of a
wall, railing, or fence to ensure balance and safety.
Many exercises, such as sit-ups, push-ups, wheelchair push-ups,
and jumping jacks, do not require equipment. All that is needed is a mat or
carpeted floor and enough space for movement. See Lieberman (2005a, 2005b) for
more information about adapting these fitness skills for deafblind children.
Motor Skill Activities
The fitness activities discussed above improve muscular strength
and endurance, but motor skill activities help to improve agility, balance,
motor coordination, manipulation skills, and eye-hand and eye-foot
coordination. These skills promote independence, self-esteem, and a feeling of
competence and can be very enjoyable either alone or with siblings or peers.
Ball manipulation. A ball can be rolled, kicked, or thrown
against a wall or to a sibling or peer. This activity improves balance,
eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, and agility. Choose a ball that the child
is comfortable with. Children who have never played with a ball may need to
begin with one that is not fully inflated so they are not afraid of hurting
themselves. It is also important to choose a ball with a texture the child
likes and that is appropriate for his or her visual capacity. For example, a
dark blue or purple ball might be best for a child who sees darker colors
better than lighter colors.
To help children keep track of the ball, tie it to a rope, chair,
or doorknob. A ball can also be tied to a tetherball pole or volleyball post.
This eliminates the need to chase or search for the ball, but care must be
taken to avoid running into the central pole.
Reaching and grasping activities. Children can practice
reaching and grasping using scarves, balls made of rope, beanbags, yarn balls,
deflated beach balls, or a nonlatex Koosh ball. This activity helps develop
hand strength, coordination, and the ability to manipulate objects with the
hands. The ability to drop objects is a prerequisite for throwing, and objects
can be dropped into a hula hoop, pushed off a wheelchair tray, or dropped into
an eye-level basketball hoop or large garbage can.
Wedge mat activities. Wedge mats are large mats in the
shape of a piece of pie on its side. The highest side may be at the level of a
childs knees or thighs. The mats can be used for log rolls, forward
rolls, crawling, or tumbling. Once a child has tumbled to the end of the mat,
he or she can trail it back to the top. This independent activity can be
enjoyed outside on the grass or inside with the wedge mat placed on top of a
flat mat. If there are safety hazards close to the play area, create boundaries
using cones or rope placed within 5 to 10 feet of the mat. The wedge mat can
also be set on a large mat to create a natural safety zone. Wedge mats can be
purchased through equipment companies, sporting goods stores, or gymnastics
Locomotor activities. Locomotor activities, like running,
hopping, galloping, leaping, skipping, and jumping, work the large muscles of
the legs and promote agility, coordination, gross motor skills, balance, leg
strength, and endurance. For stability, they can be performed while holding
onto a guide rope, wall, or fence. To learn about instructional techniques for
locomotor skills, see OConnell, Lieberman, and Petersen (2006).
Racquet and bat activities. Children can use a racquetball,
badminton, or tennis racquet, or a bat, to hit balloons, small beach balls,
Wiffle balls, or Nerf balls. The ball can be placed on a batting tee, thrown in
the air, or dangled from a string tied to a beam or fixture. A ball can also be
tied to the bat or racquet so there is no need to chase or search for the ball.
Balls with bells inside are good for children who have usable hearing. Children
can bat for fun, distance, and cooperative games, or bat a specific number of
Balance activities. A ramp, balance board, rebounder, flat
curb, or balance beam can be used for balance activities. For safety, place
mats under the equipment and keep the area clear. Children can challenge
themselves to balance for a specific length of time or to achieve a set number
of times that they walk along a beam or jump on a rebounder.
It is important to remember that each child is different. Some
will participate in activities because they enjoy the way a movement feels or
the companionship of other participants. Others may want to become more
skillful in an activity, and goal setting is an integral part of fitness,
recreation, and sport. If a childs goal is to improve, it is important to
establish a baseline for activities, such as the number of push-ups, duration
of walking, or accuracy or distance of ball throwing. Teaching a child how to
measure improvement is a key to continued enjoyment, challenge, and success
recognition. For more information on skill development and goal setting, see
Lieberman, Modell, Jackson, and Ponchillia (2006).
Encouraging children who are deafblind to participate in
activities at home is not always easy. It requires communication with the
child, creativity, and practice, but the time and energy spent developing a
variety of physical and recreational activities in the home will improve
fitness, provide opportunities for fun and socialization, and open many doors
for children who are deafblind.
Haring, N. G., & Romer, L. T. (1995). Welcoming students
who are deaf-blind into typical classrooms. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes
Kozub, F. M., & Oh, H. (2004). An exploratory study of
physical activity levels in children and adolescents with visual impairments.
Clinical Kinesiology, 58 (3), 17.
Kroksmark, U., & Nordell, K. (2001). Adolescence: The age of
opportunities and obstacles for students with low vision in Sweden. Journal
of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 95 (4), 213225.
Lieberman, L. J. (2005a). Deafness and deaf-blindness. In J. P.
Winnick (Ed.), Adapted physical education and sport (4th ed., pp.
222233). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Lieberman, L. J. (2005b). Visual impairments. In J. P. Winnick
(Ed.), Adapted physical education and sport (4th ed., pp. 206218).
Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Lieberman, L. J., & Cowart, J. F. (1996). Games for people
with sensory impairments: Strategies for including individuals of all ages.
Champagne, IL: Human Kinetics.
Lieberman, L. J., & Houston-Wilson, C. (2002). Strategies
for inclusion: A handbook for physical educators. Champaign, IL: Human
Lieberman, L. J., & MacVicar, J. M. (2003). Play and
recreation habits of youth who are deaf-blind. Journal of Visual Impairment
and Blindness, 97 (12), 755768.
Lieberman, L. J., & McHugh, E. (2001). Health-related fitness
of children who are visually impaired. Journal of Visual Impairment and
Blindness, 95 (5), 272287.
Lieberman, L. J., Modell, S. J., Jackson, I., & Ponchillia, P.
(2006). Going PLACES: Transition guidelines for community-based physical
activities for students who have visual impairments, blindness, or
deafblindness. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.
OConnell, M., Lieberman, L. J., & Petersen, S. (2006).
The use of tactile modeling and physical guidance as instructional strategies
in physical activity for children who are blind. Journal of Visual
Impairment and Blindness, 100 (8), 471477.
Petroff, J. G. (1999). A national transition follow-up study of
youth identified as deafblind: Parent perspectives (Doctoral
dissertation, Temple University, 1999). Dissertation Abstracts
International, 60 (03A), 704.
Smith, T. B. (2002). Guidelines: Practical tips for working and
socializing with deaf-blind people. Burtonsville, MD: Sign Media Inc.
American Printing House for the Blind PE Web site: A
parent/teacher resource promoting physical education and recreation for
children with sensory impairments, http://www.aph.org/pe
Camp Abilities Web site: http://www.campabilities.org
DB-LINK Web site: http://www.dblink.org (see Play and
Recreation in the Selected Topics section)
The authors would like to thank Katrina Arndt for her
contributions to this article
Breaking Barriers in Asia: The Deafblind
International Asian Conference
Akhil Paul, Chairperson
The Second Deafblind International
Asian Conference was held in Dhaka Bangladesh, in January 2006. It was hosted
by the National Forum of Organizations Working with the Disabled (NFOWD), a
federation of nongovernmental organizations that work with people with
disabilities in Bangladesh.
Deafblind International (DbI) is a worldwide association promoting
services for deafblind people. It brings together professionals, researchers,
families, deafblind people, and administrators to raise awareness of
deafblindness and campaign for the rights of deafblind people of all ages to
have a good quality of life. The aim of this DbI Asian conference was to bring
together academic experts, professionals, parents, governmental policy
planners, and organizations involved in the development of services for
deafblind children and adults in Asia. The theme breaking barriers in
Asia was intended to inspire an exchange of thoughts and ideas about
critical issues pertaining to deafblindness on the Asian continent. The
discussions helped set up a framework for further strengthening of services in
the Asian region. There were over 321 participants from 18 countries, including
72 people with disabilities. Mr. Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Honorable
Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare, Government of Bangladesh, gave the
In the keynote address, Ms. Aloka Guha, chairperson of the
National Trust of India, focused on the use of a human rights approach to
develop services for deafblind people in the region. She urged representatives
of national governments, organizations for development and disability,
researchers, and deafblind people to take maximum advantage of the positive
policy and legislative climate that emerged during the previous decade in the
Many discussions and debates were stimulated during more than 70
presentations, which covered a range of topics from early intervention and
identification to communication to program planning. Participants also actively
engaged in discussions on the building of service capacity, the role of
international and nongovernmental organizations in the region, and technology
for deafblind people. There was a special focus on the importance of deafblind
people speaking for themselves about their lives, their expectations, and their
The resolution committee was chaired by Dr. Bhushan Punani,
executive director of the Blind Peoples Association in India. Resolutions
included the following:
- Voice of the People: Strengthen the voices of deafblind people
through all registered networks in the field of deafblindness.
- Prevention: Promote rubella immunization as a national movement
in all countries in Asia.
- Standard definition: Develop a standard, appropriate definition
of deafblindness to be accepted by national governments and adopted through
- Human Rights: Guarantee all rights for deafblind people,
including the rights to work, education, quality of life, accessibility,
communication, employment, and equal opportunities.
- Human Resource Development: Promote programs to train
stakeholders in deafblindness, including special and inclusive teachers,
caregivers and birth attendants, community-based rehabilitation workers,
village health workers, interpreters, parent counselors, medical personnel, and
- International Recognition: Lobby the United Nations to create a
new position of Assistant Secretary General on Disability Affairs and appoint a
capable person with a disability to this post.
The conference proceedings are available on the Deafblind
International Web site: http://www.deafblindinternational.org.
Akhil Paul is the director of Sense International (India). The
organizations Web site is at http://www.senseintindia.org.
Accommodations and Alternate Assessment Use in
Schools and Programs That Serve Students who are Deaf-Blind
Stephanie W. Cawthon
School of Psychology,
As part of a growing concern about
accountability for student achievement, federal and state education agencies
have implemented legislation that requires all students to participate in
regular assessments of key content knowledge (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001;
Individuals with Disabilities Act, 1997, 2004). All students, including
students with disabilities, are to be included in these assessments. The
primary method is standardized assessment, administered using multiple-choice,
bubble-sheet formats. For students with disabilities, the standardized format
can lead to invalid test scores. Standardized tests are not a true measure of a
students learning because in addition to evaluating knowledge, they also
measure a test-taking skill that may be hampered by a disability (Elliott &
Braden, 2000; Phillips, 1994; Shriner & DeStefano, 2003).
A classic example of this problem is when a student with a visual
impairment is asked to participate in a standardized assessment that is in
print form. Allowing the student to complete the test in a Braille format would
be considered a reasonable accommodation. A variety of testing accommodations
can be implemented to make tests accessible for students with disabilities
(McDonnell, McLaughlin, & Morison, 1997; Phillips, 1994). There are times,
however, when there are no suitable accommodations to remove access barriers
for a student with disabilities. In these cases, federal and state testing
policies allow for alternate assessments for students with the most significant
disabilities who cannot be reasonably accommodated on a standardized assessment
(Wiley, Thurlow, & Klein, 2005).
There has been little in-depth analysis of accommodations and
alternate assessment practices for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. To
address this need, the National Survey of Accommodations and Alternate
Assessments for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing investigated the
extent to which accommodations and alternate assessment techniques are being
used for this population (Cawthon, 2006). The study was intended to serve as a
starting point for understanding assessment methods used throughout the United
States in a variety of educational settings. It also aimed to solicit the
perspectives of those who work in the field to better guide future research and
discussions of best practice.
In response to requests from educators who work with students who
are deaf-blind, the survey was modified to allow participants to include
information about whether their programs serve students who are deaf-blind as
well as those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The summary below provides
survey data specific to schools indicating that they served deaf-blind students
in the 20032004 academic year. Forty-three schools or programs in 21
states described at least one student as deaf-blind. Nine were schools for the
deaf, 23 were schools or district programs for students who were deaf or hard
of hearing, and 2 were mainstreamed settings.
An important note about this study is that it requested
information for each school or program as a whole. It did not request
information about individual students or their assessment scores. It did seek
an overall perspective on how schools and programs serving deaf-blind students
(as well as deaf or hard-of-hearing students) use accommodations and alternate
assessments for accountability purposes. In this way, this summary complements
recent case study research conducted by Horvath, Kampfer-Bohach, & Kearns
The survey asked respondents about the range of accommodations
used by students who participated in state standardized assessments. The most
common accommodations for mathematics were the use of an interpreter,allowing
students to sign responses, extended time for completion, and separate rooms.
The most common accommodations for reading were the use of an interpreter,
extended time, and separate rooms (see figure 1). Because of small sample sizes
and large variation in responses, most of the differences between schools that
served students with deaf-blindness and those that served only students who are
deaf or hard of hearing were not statistically significant. Only other
accommodations for mathematics demonstrated a difference in use between
Figure 1. Reading Accomogations. (text description of chart)
Programs that included deaf-blind students were more likely to
have students participate in alternate assessments than those that served only
students who were deaf or hard of hearing. The survey asked participants to
indicate whether they had students participating in alternate assessments. A
total of 21 schools or programs that served deaf-blind students (72%) indicated
that they did. This is much higher than the percentage of programs, serving
only students who are deaf or hard of hearing (43%).
Participants used a wide range of alternate assessment formats.
The most commonly used formats were out-of-level testing, portfolios, and
curriculum-based assessments. It is important to note that specific formats are
often dictated by the policy and practices in place in each state or district.
Decisions about alternate assessment formats may depend on many factors beyond
the control of program staff. With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising
that there were no significant differences in alternate assessment format use
between these two groups (see figure 2).
Figure 2. Alternate Assessment Formats. (text description of chart
Because this survey was conducted at the school or program level,
the results shown here reflect only overall patterns in assessment practices
with students who are deaf-blind. Future research can look more closely at
these patterns by investigating practices with individual students.
Decisions regarding assessment are complex. Factors such as
district and state policies, individualized education plans, instructional
accommodations, available resources, and student characteristics are all
important components in assessment practice. The research team hopes that this
broad picture of accommodations and alternate assessment use can be a part of
the larger effort of helping students who are deaf or hard of hearing,
including students who are deaf-blind, to meaningfully participate in state
Cawthon, S. W. (2006). National survey of accommodations and
alternate assessments for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in the
United States. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 11 (3),
Elliott, S. N., & Braden, J. P. (2000). Educational
assessment and accountability for all students: Facilitating the meaningful
participation of students with disabilities in district and statewide
assessment programs. Madison: Wisconsin State Department of Public
Horvath, L. S., Kampfer-Bohach, S., & Kearns, J. F. (2005).
The use of accommodations among students with deafblindness in large-scale
assessment systems. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 16 (3),
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997,
20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (2001).
McDonnell, L. M., McLaughlin, M. J., & Morison, P. (Eds.).
(1997). Educating one and all: Students with disabilities and
standards-based reform. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.
Phillips, S. E. (1994). High-stakes testing accommodations:
Validity versus disabled rights. Applied measurement in education, 7
Shriner, J. G., & DeStefano, L. (2003). Participation and
accommodation in state assessment: The role of individualized education
programs. Exceptional Children, 69 (2), 147161.
Wiley, H. I., Thurlow, M. L., & Klein, J. A. (2005). Steady
progress: State public reporting practices for students with disabilities after
the first year of NCLB (20022003) (Technical Report 40). Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
[On-line]. Accessed January 3, 2006, at
Cochlear Implant Study
The Teaching Research
Western Oregon University
The Outcomes for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind after Cochlear
Implantation (CIDB) Project is seeking approximately 250 children for
participation in a study to determine the impact of cochlear implantation on
auditory perception, language acquisition, and receptive and expressive
communication. Currently, very little information is available about children
who are deaf-blind and have cochlear implants. The primary goal of the study is
to increase knowledge about this population. Children younger than 13 who
currently use or are considering using a cochlear implant may be eligible to
At the beginning of the study, four assessment questionnaires are
completed for each child: three by family members and one by a state deaf-blind
project staff member based on interactions with the child. Follow-up
assessments depend on how long a child has had an implant. Children who have
not yet received a cochlear implant or who have recently received one will have
subsequent assessments every 12 months for 3 years. Children who have had an
implant for less than 7 years will be assessed one more time after 12 months.
Children who have had an implant for more than 7 years undergo no further
assessments. A small stipend is given to families of children who qualify for
participation in the study.
The CIDB Project is a joint effort by the Teaching Research
Institute at Western Oregon University, the Beach Center on Disability at the
University of Kansas, and the Midwest Ear Institute at St. Lukes
Hospital, in Kansas City, Missouri. Fifteen state deaf-blind projects are
participating: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,
Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, and Texas. This project (Grant #H327A050079) is funded by the
U.S. Department of Educations Office of Special Education. For more
information, visit http://www.wou.edu/cidb, e-mail CIDB@wou.edu, or call
Adapted Prelinguistic Milieu
Teaching for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind
Susan M. Bashinski
Beach Center on Disability
University of Kansas
Development of a capability for meaningful communication is a
primary goal for children who are deaf-blind. Prelinguistic Milieu Teaching
(PMT) strategies have been found to effectively increase the use of gestures
and vocalizations by children with significantly delayed language or
intellectual disability, but have not previously been adapted for children who
are deaf-blind. The Promoting Communication Outcomes through Adapted
Prelinguistic Milieu Teaching for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind study is being
conducted to investigate the effectiveness of these strategies in improving
communication outcomes for children with deaf-blindness who have not yet
developed formal language skills. The study (Grant #H324D030003) is funded by
the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Special Education.
Twelve children between the ages of 3 and 8 years, from the
greater Kansas City area and from Lawrence and Topeka, Kansas, are
participating in the study. Two children are in the baseline phase, in which
their initial status is assessed and described prior to the start of
intervention. Four children are currently in the intervention phase. Six have
already completed their intervention and are being monitored to see whether
they maintain the communication skills gained during intervention.
During the intervention phase, which lasts several months, each
child participates in one-on-one interaction sessions with a project staff
member 4 out of 5 days each week. Each 45-minute session includes teaching
routines designed to provide opportunities for the child to use natural
gestures and/or vocalizations. The staff member follows the childs lead
to the greatest extent possible.
At the start of the study, each child communicated at a very,
very low rate. That is, each child made less than one communicative attempt per
minute. A communicative attempt, or act, is defined as a gesture, a
vocalization, or a combination of these two, performed for the purpose of
interacting with another person. Examples include a childs raising a hand
to give a high five to another person, taking another persons
hand and moving it to a desired toy, or extending a hand with palm up to
request an item. The goal for this study is to increase the number of
communicative acts by each child to at least one per minute for the duration of
a 45-minute session over three consecutive videotaped sessions (one session
videotaped with each child each week). So far, five children have met or
exceeded this goal. The overall average communication rate, when intervention
ended for each of the six children, was 1.52 communication acts per minute.
This means that, on average, the children communicated, without prompting, an
average of 68 times during each 45-minute session. All of the children,
including one child who did not achieve the target goal because of motor
challenges, showed significant increases in their rates of communication and in
the diversity of ways that they communicated.
This study is now being repeated in Indiana. The Indiana
Deaf-Blind Project has identified six children who will participate in the
intervention and be evaluated using the same procedures as in the Kansas
As a result of this research, children who are deaf-blind are
demonstrating progress, most of them significant progress, in learning
prelinguistic communication skills. More importantly, they are learning the
power of communicationan essential bridge to symbolic forms of
communication. It is hoped that families of children with deaf-blindness will
also benefit from this study. As a result of their childrens increased
communication skills, families might experience more enjoyable interactions,
reduced frustration, and increased participation by their children in family
activities. The studys positive results provide concrete support for
intensive application of adapted PMT strategies, and might be used by families
to advocate for this service. State deaf-blind projects may also benefit by
sharing information about this evidence-based strategy with special education
administrators and local school teams. For more information, contact Susan
Bashinski by phone at 785-864-2459 (voice) or 785-864-3434 (TTY), or by e-mail
Publication on Research-Based Instructional
Strategies for Students with Disabilities
The Access Center in Washington, DC, has developed Strategies to
Improve Access to the General Education Curriculum. This is a periodically
updated chart that identifies educational practices that are either backed by
evidence or are promising but need more validation. Strategies include
computer-assisted instruction, differentiated instruction, peer-assisted
learning, professional collaboration, adapted books, literacy-rich
environments, curriculum-based measurement, and functional behavioral
assessment systems. The chart can be accessed at
What Works Clearinghouse Help Desk
The What Works Clearinghouses Evidence-Based Education Help
Desk provides federal, state, and local education officials, researchers,
program providers, and educators with practical, easy-to-use tools for rigorous
evaluation of educational interventions and identification and implementation
of evidence-based interventions. The Help Desk is operated by the What Works
Clearinghouse of the U.S. Education Departments Institute of Education
Sciences. Call the Help Desk toll free at 866-992-9799 for help in using and
finding resources, or e-mail email@example.com.
See the Web site at http://www.whatworkshelpdesk.ed.gov.
If you have information that you would like to include in
Research Update, contact:
Teaching Research Institute
Monmouth, OR 97361
For Your Library
Going PLACES: Transition Guidelines for Community-based
Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or
Lauren Lieberman, Scott Modell, Ileah Jackson, &
Paul Ponchillia. (2006). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.
Going PLACES is a resource guide for teens and young adults that
promotes independent physical activity. It outlines a step-by-step process for
choosing and participating in sports and other physical activities outside of
the school arena. It includes worksheets for choosing an activity, descriptions
of activities, modifications and accommodations, suggestions for skill
development, information about safety and self-advocacy, and athlete profiles
that encourage a healthy lifestyle. It is available in large print and Braille
formats, both of which come with a CD-ROM version (standard text). Cost:
$68.00. To order, contact the American Printing House for the Blind. Phone:
800-223-1839. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web:
Touch of Home. . . Road to Realizing a Vision
Hodge & Monika McJannet-Werner. (2006). Liberty Corner
Enterprises, Inc. and Helen Keller National Center.
Deaf-blind people with additional and complex challenges are often
underserved. This 48-page publication describes a model for the development of
a program to successfully support deaf-blind individuals in a setting that
offers not only a housing option, but vocational choices and opportunities to
participate in the dynamics of a community. It is a program that reflects life,
rather than life being run on a program. Touch of Home was developed through a
collaborative process that included local entities and services in the
Asheville, North Carolina area and a partnership with Liberty Corner
Enterprises, an affiliate program of the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC).
The monograph was written in response to many inquiries received regarding the
development of the project, and to encourage others to develop similar
resources in their own community. Single copies can be obtained free of charge
by contacting Rob Ruis at email@example.com, or Monika Werner
mw4HKNC@aol.com. The document can also be downloaded from the HKNC web site,
http://www.hknc.org. It is available in
Tactile Strategies for Children Who Have Visual Impairments and
Multiple Disabilities: Promoting Communication and Learning Skills
Deborah Chen & June E. Downing. (2006). New York: AFB Press.
This book is designed to teach service providers and family
members how to interact through touch with children who need tactile
information to support their learning. Topics include the sense of touch,
support of interactions through touch, assessment of tactile skills and
planning of interventions, consideration of multiple communication options,
adaptation of manual signs to meet a childs needs, selection and use of
appropriate tactile strategies, and encouragement of emerging literacy. Cost:
$39.95. Available from AFB Press. Phone: 800-AFB-LINE (232-5463). E-mail:
From Russia with Love and Care for Children with Multiple
Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour: A Demonstration Model [CD-ROM]
Jan van Dijk, Catherine Nelson, & Ton van der Meer. (2006).
This interactive CD-ROM is the result of cooperation between the
authors and staff members of the Childrens House at Sergiev Posad in the
Russian Federation. From 2000 to 2005, the group collaborated as they studied
children with multiple sensory impairments and moderate to severe challenging
behaviors. The behaviors of six children are analyzed through video analysis,
A-B-C analysis, and direct observation. Interventions and follow-up measures
are included. For a more detailed description, see
$45.00. Order by sending a check to Mr. Joe Franken, 4619 Spyglass Drive,
Dallas, TX 75287. Write From Russia on your check.
Teaching Language Arts, Math, and Science to Students with
Significant Cognitive Disabilities
Diane M.Browder & Fred Spooner
(Eds.). (2006). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
The purpose of this book is to show meaningful ways for educators
to help students with significant cognitive disabilities to meet the
expectations of the No Child Left Behind Act with regard to progress in
reading, math, and science. It includes chapters on promoting access to the
general curriculum, building literacy at the presymbolic, early symbolic, and
reading levels, enhancing numeracy, and teaching math and science functional
skills in accordance with the acts standards. Cost: $49.95. Available
from Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Phone: 800-638-3775. E-mail:
Proceedings of the Summit on Cerebral/Cortical Visual
Impairment: Educational, Family, and Medical Perspectives, April 30,
Elizabeth Dennison & Amanda Hall Lueck (Eds.). (2005). New
York: AFB Press.
This summit brought together educators, medical professionals, and
families to discuss issues related to cortical visual impairment (CVI). Panels
considered the following topics: the definition of CVI, clinical and functional
measures used to identify children with CVI, how brain research can be
integrated into education and rehabilitation of children with CVI, available
evidence that can be used to serve children with CVI, and research and training
needs in the field. Cost: $39.95. Available from AFB Press. Phone: 800-AFB-LINE
(232-5463). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web:
CHARGE Syndrome: A Management Manual for Parents
Hefner & Sandra Davenport (Eds.) (2002). CHARGE Syndrome Foundation.
This manual, published in 2002, is now available online as an
interactive publication in Adobe PDF Format. It includes information about the
medical aspects of CHARGE, development and education, and resources. The manual
is also available in Spanish (must be ordered offline). Web:
Conferences and Events
8th International CHARGE Syndrome
July 2729, 2007
Costa Mesa California
For information contact the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation, Inc., 409
Vandiver Drive, Suite 5-104, Columbia, MO 65202. Phone: 800-442-7604. E-mail:
14th Deafblind International World
September 2530, 2007
Exciting international and national speakers will form part of the
conference program based around the theme, Worldwide Connections:
Breaking the Isolation. An estimated 1000 delegates will attend from
throughout the world. Participants will include international, national, and
local health and disability professionals and service providers; recognized
experts in deafblindness; and representatives from the international blind and
deafblind communities. For more information contact Senses Foundation, Inc.,
P.O. Box 14, Maylands WA 6931, Australia. Phone: 61 8 9473 5400. TTY: 61 8 9473
5488. E-mail: email@example.com. Web:
Helen Keller National Center National Training
The Helen Keller National Center National Training Team (NTT) was
established to increase knowledge and support the development of skills
specific to deaf-blindness in individuals working with consumers who are
deaf-blind across the country. The NTT holds numerous seminars throughout the
year. The 2007 schedule was not available at the time this issue of Deaf-Blind
Perspectives went to press. For up-to-date information, check the NTT web page
or contact Doris Plansker, NTT Administrative Assistant. Phone: 516-944-8900,
ext. 233. TTY: 516-944-8637. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Addressing the Needs of Students Labeled Deaf and
Low Functioning, Deaf-Blind, or At-Risk Institute
An overwhelming majority of students who are deaf, hard of
hearing, or deaf-blind do not transition to college. There are many factors
that contribute to thisduring childhood, as well as during and after
transition from high school. This conference will provide opportunities to
learn from national and state leaders about educational, rehabilitation, home,
and job training strategies. For more information contact Theresa Johnson,
Education Specialist, 7145 West Tidwell, Houston, TX 77092. Phone:
713-744-6391. E-mail: email@example.com.
New Deafblind International Rubella Network
Deafblind International recently
approved a new Rubella Network. Although the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention announced in 2005 that rubella had been eradicated from the United
States, the World Health Organization estimates that annually, 100,000 children
are born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) worldwide. CRS can cause
deafness, blindness, heart problems, and a host of other health issues in
babies born to mothers who contract rubella during the first trimester of
pregnancy. Of grave concern, is the onset of additional health problems as
these children age. The network will establish an international platform from
which information and research about rubella and CRS can be shared. For more
Helen Keller National Center
Sands Point, NY 11050
516-944-8900, Ext. 326
Back Issues of Deaf-Blind Perspectives
Back issues of Deaf-Blind Perspectives, beginning with the first
issue published in September 1993, are available online at
http://www.tr.wou.edu/tr/dbp. The following is a list of some of the articles,
essays, poems, and research updates that can be found on the web site.
- Cochlear Implants for Young Children Who Are Deaf-Blind
- Classroom Observation Instrument for Educational Environments
- Project SALUTE Information Sheets: A Field Test of the Spanish
Translation in Puerto Rico
- Understanding Balance Problems in Children with CHARGE Syndrome
- A Personal View of Changes in Deaf-Blind Population,
Philosophy, and Needs
- No Teacher Left Behind: Training Teachers to Meet the Challenge
of Accessing the General Curriculum for Deafblind Students
- Computer Activities to Support Communication and Language
- Capturing Change: Measuring the Impact of An Interagency
Transition Team Approach
- PHASES: Psychologists Helping to Assess Students
- Grade One Braille for Students Who Are Deafblind
- Resonance Boards
- Intervenor Training
- Project SPARKLE
- Forty Years After the Epidemic: HKNC Hosts an International
Symposium on Rubella
- Getting In Touch: The Perkins Museum
- DVD/Video Review: We Have Contact!
- Learning From Children Who Are Deafblind: Throw Away the
- Communication Portfolio: A Tool to Increase the Competence of
Communication Partners of Learners Who Are Deafblind
- Ready for Partnership: Collaboration Between NFADB and State
- Deafblindness in Australia: The State of the Nation
- Oregon Deafblind Project Intervener Training Program
- Deafblind International World Conference on Deafblindness
- Mississippis Deaf-Blind Focus
- Assessment as a Creative Action
- AADB Mentoring Project
- Collaboration Achieves Travel Success
- Our Experiences (to Date) with Sams Cochlear Implant
- Fifteen Today (poem)
- Guardianship (poem)
- Personal Perspectives: Selecting the Right Assistive Technology
- Personal Perspective: Being More DeafBlind
- Personal Retrospective: Roberta Reid
- Siblings: Unusual Concerns
- Personal Perspectives: Ron Relaford
- Spotlight on Assistive Technology
- The Silent Dark (poem)
- He Didnt Listen (poem)
- Personal Perspectives: Stephanie MacFarland
- The Struggle to Symbolism Studies
- Functional Hearing Inventory: Project to Identify
Criterion-Related Validity and Interrater Reliability
- Promoting Communication Outcomes through Adapted Prelinguistic
Milieu Teaching for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind
- Assessment Project Update: Validation of Evidence-based
Assessment Strategies to Promote Achievement in Children Who Are Deafblind
- Persons Aging with Hearing and Vision Loss
In Every Issue
- For Your Library (New Products and Publications)
- Conferences & Events
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