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NCDB Support for State Deaf-Blind Projects

The first step to working with NCDB is to contact us for a consultation to discuss your project’s needs and priorities. We encourage state deaf-blind project personnel to contact us any time with questions related to your work, resources on deaf-blindness, or NCDB’s services. 

You may already know whether you want to focus on child-specific or systems TA and, if systems TA, in which initiative area. If you don’t know, that’s fine, too. In either case, as we learn about your project’s goals and capacity, we can help you determine which of our products and services will be most relevant and useful to you. 

Jump to Technical Assistance Resources →

Need Assistance?

If you have questions or need TA support please contact Sam Morgan.

The TA Process

Levels of TA

NCDB's technical assistance is aligned with OSEP's definitions of technical assistance — universal, targeted, and intensive. Universal TA involves independent review of publications or participation in short-term events like webinars or topical meetings. It’s easy to engage in and requires no long-term commitment and minimal (if any) preparation. Targeted and intensive TA activities are more complicated, requiring increasing amounts of time, effort, and commitment.

Levels of TA build upon one another. For example, before participating in a peer-to-peer learning community (targeted TA), we typically ask you to review selected materials on the topic the community will address. Before participating in intensive TA, we require you to have already made some progress toward your goals via participation in targeted TA.

Measuring Global Outcomes

NCDB collects data (e.g., via surveys, interviews, and artifact review) to measure outcomes of its TA including:

  • An increase in the number and quality of qualified personnel for children who are deaf-blind
  • Increased identification and referral of children and youth who are deaf-blind to state deaf-blind projects 
  • Increased adoption of high-quality TA practices by state deaf-blind projects 
  • Increased adoption of high-quality personnel development practices within personnel development systems
  • Adoption of programs, policies, procedures, and practices (e.g., related to customized employment, intervener regulations, inclusion of deaf-blind practices in EI training systems) by state systems

Readiness

Readiness is a key technical assistance concept. It's not evaluative in nature, but rather refers to the process of helping potential TA recipients:

  • Determine whether specific services are right for them 
  • Assess whether they have the time and resources to participate
  • Learn how they should prepare

OSEP requires NCDB to assist state deaf-blind projects in making decisions about their readiness to participate in our TA activities. Considering your project’s readiness for targeted or intensive TA starts with the initial consultation mentioned above. It continues throughout the TA process because readiness changes over time. Readiness for intensive TA also involves assessing whether NCDB has the capacity to effectively support you given your current needs. 

The following documents outline key readiness factors—time commitments and other expectations—for targeted and intensive TA.

These can be used in combination with consultation from NCDB staff to determine the type of support that best meets your project's needs.

Types of TA – Child-Specific and Systems

Child-Specific TA

Child-specific TA is an important service that many state deaf-blind projects deliver to early intervention providers, school-based teams, and families. Its main purpose is to help practitioners and families implement high-quality practices that improve educational results for children who are deaf-blind and prepare them for adult life.

There is a strong literature base to guide child-specific TA, but the unique context in which each state deaf-blind project operates—location, staff expertise, state geographic and demographic characteristics—influences how evidence-based recommendations are applied. 

NCDB provides support to assist state projects in determining whether they want to make changes to their child-specific procedures and processes and, if so, what those changes should be. 

Universal TA

NCDB's universal support for child-specific TA involves quick, one-time consultations, training (e.g., webinars, professional development opportunities), and independent use of NCDB resources. Resources for child-specific TA include:

We also have librarians who can help you find information to meet the needs of specific children and teams (send requests to support@nationaldb.org).

Targeted TA

Our targeted child-specific TA begins with a phone or web-conferencing consultation to discuss your current processes and initial thoughts about changes you would like to make. This may lead to additional short-term individual or group consultations (typically a few sessions). 

Consultations can also be used to problem-solve issues that arise with specific children, families, or teams.

Peer-Learning Communities

Peer-learning communities (PLCs) are another essential component of our targeted TA. They bring together state deaf-blind project personnel with similar needs related to their projects' child-specific TA processes. Participants in PLCs learn from each other as they share expertise, resources, and insights they can apply to their own TA.

Learn more about PLCs

Current Peer-Learning Communities
 

Intensive TA

Targeted TA is usually sufficient to address most state deaf-blind project child-specific TA needs, but some may opt for in-depth, individualized consultation and support. In these cases, NCDB can provide intensive support. 

Intensive TA follows the recommendations in Implementing Evidence-Based Practices for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind: A TA Reference Guide. Specific activities vary depending on your project's needs, but common areas include:

  • Identification of your project's current processes and procedures
  • Goal setting
  • Review of existing processes and documents
  • Resources and advice on best practices
  • Feedback as processes and documents are revised

Child-specific intensive TA typically takes about a year when comprehensively addressing all of a project's child-specific processes and a shorter length of time for more focused needs.

NCDB Child-Specific Intensive TA Intake Form - Use this to request TA support and describe your state deaf-blind project’s needs. The link is to a SurveyGizmo form. Here's a Word version for completing your answers in advance (cut and paste your responses from it into the Survey Gizmo version).

Child-Specific TA

Child-specific TA is an important service that many state deaf-blind projects deliver to early intervention providers, school-based teams, and families. Its main purpose is to help practitioners and families implement high-quality practices that improve educational results for children who are deaf-blind and prepare them for adult life.

There is a strong literature base to guide child-specific TA, but the unique context in which each state deaf-blind project operates—location, staff expertise, state geographic and demographic characteristics—influences how evidence-based recommendations are applied. 

NCDB provides support to assist state projects in determining whether they want to make changes to their child-specific procedures and processes and, if so, what those changes should be. 

Universal TA

NCDB's universal support for child-specific TA involves quick, one-time consultations, training (e.g., webinars, professional development opportunities), and independent use of NCDB resources. Resources for child-specific TA include:

We also have librarians who can help you find information to meet the needs of specific children and teams (send requests to support@nationaldb.org).

Targeted TA

Our targeted child-specific TA begins with a phone or web-conferencing consultation to discuss your current processes and initial thoughts about changes you would like to make. This may lead to additional short-term individual or group consultations (typically a few sessions). 

Consultations can also be used to problem-solve issues that arise with specific children, families, or teams.

Peer-Learning Communities

Peer-learning communities (PLCs) are another essential component of our targeted TA. They bring together state deaf-blind project personnel with similar needs related to their projects' child-specific TA processes. Participants in PLCs learn from each other as they share expertise, resources, and insights they can apply to their own TA.

Learn more about PLCs

Current Peer-Learning Communities
 

Intensive TA

Targeted TA is usually sufficient to address most state deaf-blind project child-specific TA needs, but some may opt for in-depth, individualized consultation and support. In these cases, NCDB can provide intensive support. 

Intensive TA follows the recommendations in Implementing Evidence-Based Practices for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind: A TA Reference Guide. Specific activities vary depending on your project's needs, but common areas include:

  • Identification of your project's current processes and procedures
  • Goal setting
  • Review of existing processes and documents
  • Resources and advice on best practices
  • Feedback as processes and documents are revised

Child-specific intensive TA typically takes about a year when comprehensively addressing all of a project's child-specific processes and a shorter length of time for more focused needs.

NCDB Child-Specific Intensive TA Intake Form - Use this to request TA support and describe your state deaf-blind project’s needs. The link is to a SurveyGizmo form. Here's a Word version for completing your answers in advance (cut and paste your responses from it into the Survey Gizmo version).

Systems TA

Systems TA conducted by state deaf-blind projects involves activities that address the needs of numerous children and families and lead to more sustainable services. These activities may range from fairly simple (e.g., working on implementing an instructional practice in a school district) to quite complex (e.g., developing an intervener-training program).

Every state deaf-blind project faces broad systemic challenges and, given limited resources, must make difficult choices about the direction their systems work will take. NCDB provides a range of TA services to assist projects to:

  • Explore systems-change opportunities by gathering information about state needs 
  • Locate and develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals
  • Plan and implement systems-change activities 

The work is primarily focused on four national initiative areas—family engagement, early identification and intervention, interveners and qualified personnel, and transition to adulthood. We also offer support outside initiative areas for state projects interested in developing or strengthening partnerships within their states' low-incidence infrastructures. 

Systems TA needs are often identified during the course of child-specific TA, when state deaf-blind project personnel encounter systemic problems or barriers that negatively impact children with deaf-blindness in their states. Common problems include a lack of deaf-blind content in state personnel development plans, a limited supply of qualified interveners, and limited capacity of organizations to serve families of children who are deaf-blind.

 

Universal TA

NCDB's universal support for systems TA involves quick, one-time consultations, training (e.g., webinars, professional development opportunities), and independent use of NCDB resources. Resources for systems TA include:

We also have librarians who can help you find information specific to your needs (send requests to support@nationaldb.org).

Targeted TA

Our targeted support begins with a consultation to identify your project’s needs, capacity, and what you would like to accomplish. This may lead to additional short-term individual or group consultations (typically a few sessions). 

Peer-Learning Communities

Peer-learning communities (PLCs) are another essential component of our targeted TA. They bring together state deaf-blind project personnel (and sometimes experts from outside the Deaf-Blind TA Network) working on similar systems-change projects. Topics vary depending on the initiative area, but often focus on:

  • Learning about existing organizations and resources to support systems-change efforts
  • Learning about model policies, practices, and programs
  • Identifying and setting professional development goals to increase knowledge of a national initiative area 
  • Identifying opportunities for partnerships

Participants learn from each other as they share expertise, resources, and insights that they can apply to their own systems-change efforts.

Learn More About PLCs

Current Peer-Learning Communities

Intensive TA

Targeted TA may be just what many state projects need to support their systems-change work. Others may want more in-depth, individualized consultation and support. 

Intensive TA requires a long-term commitment (typically two to three years) and extensive planning. It follows the process described in Changing Systems: Moving Beyond Child-Specific Technical Assistance and focuses on the development and implementation of systems-change activities. Support is individualized for each project. Depending on your needs, it may include:

  • Assistance in planning and conducting needs assessments
  • Assistance locating or developing resources, processes, policies, and other documents
  • Training (typically distance, but potentially onsite) for your state's stakeholders
  • Strategic planning
  • Facilitation of advisory or planning groups regarding specific areas of need
  • Development of state and national partnerships in the service of systems goals

NCDB Systems Intensive TA Intake Form - Use this to request TA support and describe your state deaf-blind project’s needs. The link is to a SurveyGizmo form. Here's a Word version for completing your answers in advance (cut and paste your responses from it into the Survey Gizmo version).