Monday, November 2, 2015

Educating DeafBlind Children: Current National Needs (With Links)

Wanna chew on the idea of becoming a Teacher of Deaf-Blind (TDB)? Or DB Intervener? Or IEP provider with specialized training in DeafBlindness?  Browse nationaldb.org or message me. Let's have a dialogue on supporting our current personnel and growing more!

In this post I share about:
  • Current National Needs and Works In Progress
  • Orion visited the statue of Alice Cogswell and Thomas H. Gallaudet
  • Professional Development and Degree Programs


Current National Needs and Work In Progress

CEC Competency Based Dialogues to Support Students with Deaf-Blindness by Dr. Amy Parker, posted on nationaldb.org in October 2015. I invite you to read the entire, richly informative article to visualize what has been happening in the years before and to imagine and believe in what could unfold for our DeafBlind children.

As mentioned in the article, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has knowledge and skill competencies spelled out for those who work with our kids.  Even though DeafBlindness is a very low incidence disability, there is a national theme of a need for supporting and developing our current school staff working with DeafBlind children plus a need for more numbers of qualified personnel in this field.  

The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (a.k.a. Cogswell-Macy Act or HR 3535) that has been introduced in the US House of Representatives, as of September 2015, included "Title III" which is for our DeafBlind children.  It also has language, that parallels the needs of our kids' Blind and Deaf counterparts, that they be served by qualified personnel.  

We still need more support from both sides of the aisle in the House.  The bill has yet to be introduced in our Senate. 

You can read in further detail (and see a list of current sponsors) about HR 3535 at ceasd.org (Deaf/HH) and afb.org (Blind).

Orion Visits Alice Cogswell and Thomas Gallaudet (Photo)

Mom and Orion with the statue of young Deaf student Alice Cogswell and her teacher, Thomas H. Gallaudet on the campus of Gallaudet University. Photo credit: Tammy Murphy.
(The statue is of a seated Thomas Gallaudet and standing Alice Cogswell, both their right hands show the handshape "A" and they are on a large pedestal base.  Orion is standing on the pedestal in front of Alice, one hand is on Gallaudet's knee and the other is on his coat, Mom is holding him up with a delighted expression on her face.)

Professional Development/Degree Programs

For Texans (and those out-of-state who can make it), the path to becoming a Teacher of the DeafBlind can go through Texas Tech University's "Dual Sensory Impairment Certificate" (a.k.a. DeafBlind, that!). It can be used as a specialty area for Masters of Education in Special Education.

Interveners-to-be anywhere can take online classes at Utah State University- https://online.usu.edu/degrees/deafblindness-cert (I hope this is the right link, but it's the right school!)  Students go through 8 online credits in one year (two courses), plus do a practicum to receive their Intervener Credentials.

A bonus for Texans interested in USU's Intervener Training, there is a scholarship opportunity to pay for your studies!  Apply for a DBMAT Intervener Training Scholarship by following this link to further information and criteria- http://www.dbmat-tx.org/intervener/scholarship_letter.html  This scholarship is made available through the hard fundraising work of family members of Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas (DBMAT).

In other states, you can reach out to your state DeafBlind Project and inquire about Intervener scholarship opportunities they may know of.  State DeafBlind Projects (<- follow the link to a national list) are also sources of workshops of whatever length of time on a variety of topics in Deafblindness for both professionals and family members.

For your viewing pleasure, more photos from our time at the statue...

Orion's left hand appears from out of frame touching Gallaudet's right ankle (Orion loves shoes, in case you didn't know). Photo credit: Tammy Murphy  

View of Orion from the shadow of Alice Cogswell, the Gothic Revival style stripes and arches of Gallaudet's Chapel Hall is seen in the background.  Orion's right hand is touching Gallaudet's left ankle.
Photo credit: Heather Withrow
Seated Orion, with his back to us, faces south toward the statue.  Even though he does not see it, he has "been there".  I would presume he would remember the cold metal, the feet and legs (both human and chair).  Repeat visits would be needed for him to build the complete statue in his mind.
Photo credit: Tammy Murphy


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