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Interveners and Qualified Personnel

Due to the low prevalence and complexity of deaf-blindness, there are many misunderstandings about children with this disability and limited familiarity on the part of professional educators regarding how they learn (Ferrell, Bruce, & Luckner, 2014).

The purpose of this initiative is to increase the number and build the knowledge and skills of personnel who serve children and youth who are deaf-blind (birth – 21) through:

  • Expansion of personnel development opportunities for both early intervention providers (Part C) and educators (Part B)
  • Adoption of interveners and teachers of the deaf-blind

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Initiative Lead

Kristi Probst

What's New

October 2020 News

If you missed the webinar on Meeting the Needs of Proficient Communicators you can watch the recording at the link below. Nancy O'Donnell and Deanna Peterson presented on identifying proficient communicators and strategies for supporting them. They also discussed proficient communicators and Usher Syndrome.

NCDB Professional Development Webinar: Meeting the Needs of Proficient Communicators

This was the second webinar in the Professional Development Series. If you have any questions, email support@nationaldb.org.

Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA): Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules

The Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA): Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules are a set of 27 modules designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students (ages 3 through 21) who are deaf-blind. Although originally intended only for intervener training, many state deaf-blind projects and university faculty have also found them useful for training teachers, related service providers, and families.

NCDB currently maintains these modules and provides support to state deaf-blind projects and university programs that use them for personnel development.

Personnel Development

A key goal of NCDB is to develop and strengthen personnel development opportunities for early intervention providers, teachers, and related service providers to enable them to implement high-quality practices with children who are deaf-blind, as well as encourage local, state, and national policies and practices that promote qualified personnel.

Learn about educational personnel

National Teacher Network

Are you looking for ways to improve your practice as you work with students who are deaf-blind? The National Deaf-Blind Educator Network is for you!

NDBEN is an online community where professionals exchange ideas and best practices, problem solve, and support one another. We are tackling topics such as literacy, communication, interveners, and effective educational practices. For more information, contact Kristi Probst.

Basecamp group for current members.

Early Intervention (Part C)

Support for state deaf-blind projects in this area involves:

  • Consultation on developing training opportunities for early intervention providers using The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness, which offers a collection of online resources for developing customized training
  • A peer-learning community (PLC) to work on issues related to personnel development for Part C providers 

Early Intervention (Part C)

Support for state deaf-blind projects in this area involves:

  • Consultation on developing training opportunities for early intervention providers using The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness, which offers a collection of online resources for developing customized training
  • A peer-learning community (PLC) to work on issues related to personnel development for Part C providers 

School Age (Part B)

NCDB activities to support and expand personnel development opportunities across the nation include:

  • Provision of resources that can be used by state deaf-blind projects for personnel development
  • Support for universities to develop or strengthen credit-based courses on deaf-blindness
  • Support for collaboration between university personnel preparation programs
  • A national community of practice (National Deaf-Blind Educator Network) for teachers of students who are deaf-blind
  • Messaging about training opportunities offered by organizations and agencies
  • Provision of resources and training on coaching and adult learning strategies

Teachers of Students Who Are Deaf-Blind

Although, there are individuals in most states with education and expertise in deaf-blindness, there are very few actually recognized as teachers of the deaf-blind (TDBs). Efforts are underway to address this deficit by promoting training, certification, and recognition of teachers in this role.

NCDB activities include:

  • Partnering with teachers, state deaf-blind project personnel, personnel preparation program faculty, and families to raise awareness of this important issue 
  • Providing support to state deaf-blind projects that currently have or are working towards establishing the role of teacher of the deaf-blind
  • Disseminating information about TDB models and processes to other state projects interested in establishing this specialty in their own states

 

Interveners

Interveners provide consistent one-to-one support to help students with deaf-blindness gain access to information and communication and facilitate the development of their social and emotional well-being. In educational environments, they are typically paraeducators who work under the direction of the classroom teacher.

The Recommendations for Improving Intervener Services (2012) form the foundation for NCDB’s intervener services activities. 

Intervener Recommendations

A skilled intervener can facilitate access to environmental information, communication and social and emotional well-being. 

Read the recommendations

Recognition

A primary focus of NCDB's current work related to interveners is to assist state deaf-blind projects as they work on the adoption of intervener services in their states and build training and coaching systems. This includes support and tools for engaging in systems-change activities that promote: 

  • Understanding and acceptance of the intervener role
  • Inclusion of policies related to intervener services in state regulations
  • Successful adoption of interveners 

A number of projects are already leaders in these areas, as described in Increasing Recognition and Use of Interveners: State Success Stories

Recognition

A primary focus of NCDB's current work related to interveners is to assist state deaf-blind projects as they work on the adoption of intervener services in their states and build training and coaching systems. This includes support and tools for engaging in systems-change activities that promote: 

  • Understanding and acceptance of the intervener role
  • Inclusion of policies related to intervener services in state regulations
  • Successful adoption of interveners 

A number of projects are already leaders in these areas, as described in Increasing Recognition and Use of Interveners: State Success Stories

Training

In the United States, state deaf-blind projects and university certificate programs are the primary sources of intervener training. Coaching and supervision, in addition to coursework, are essential. NCDB provides:

  • Consultation and technical support to state deaf-blind projects and university programs using the OHOA modules for intervener training
  • A peer-learning community (PLC) of state deaf-blind project personnel currently training interveners who meet to share challenges, expertise, and strategies

Certification

There are two options for interveners to demonstrate their attainment of the Council for Exceptional Children's intervener competencies:

  1. National Intervener Certification E-Portfolio (NICE) developed by NCDB and now run by the Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center (PAR²A Center)
  2. National Intervener Credential offered by the National Resource Center for paraeducators

NCDB's responsibilities relate to NICE include:

  • Maintain and provide technical support for the NICE web-based platform
  • Provide technical assistance to the PAR²A Center regarding their operation of the system
  • Support and train state deaf-blind project personnel and mentors
  • Work with the PAR²A Center to raise awareness of and expand use of NICE by intervener candidates

Reference

Ferrell, K. A., Bruce, S., & Luckner, J. L. (2014). Evidence-based practices for students with sensory impairments (Document No. IC-4). Retrieved from University of Florida, Collaboration for Effective Educator, Development, Accountability, and Reform Center.