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Educational Personnel

Students who are deaf-blind typically receive services from large diverse teams of educators. 

Common team members include general and special education teachers, teachers of the visually impaired or deaf and hard of hearing, therapists, interveners, interpreters, speech-language pathologists, and orientation and mobility specialists. At least one member should be a deaf-blind specialist who has received training in assessment, communication methods, program planning, and instruction for students who are deaf-blind (Riggio & Mcletchie, 2008).

There are two key types of personnel specially trained to work with children and youth who are deaf-blind—interveners and teachers of the deaf-blind (TDBs). Interveners are typically paraeducators with special training to provide one-to-one support. TBDs provide direct instruction to students and consultation to educational teams. Currently, only three states, Utah, Texas, and Illinois, recognize TDBs (Parker & Nelson, 2016). 

Related topic to explore: Characteristics of Good Programs

Team collaboration is critical in the education of a student who is deaf-blind. These students have complex educational needs and no single person will have all the answers to the challenges they face. (Rodriguez-Gil, 2009)


Riggio, M., & McLetchie, B., Eds. (2008). Deafblindness educational service guidelines (pp. 17-34).  Perkins School for the Blind.

Parker, A. T., & Nelson, C. (2016). Toward a comprehensive system of personnel development in deafblind education. American Annals of the Deaf, 161(4), 486–501.

Rodriguez-Gil, G. (2009). Fundamental classroom conditions to enhance learning experiences for students who are deaf-blind. California Deafblind Services.


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