This section provides examples of suggested activities and materials to help you address needs in your state. Not all are relevant to every state deaf-blind project. Select those most likely to help you achieve your desired outcomes.
Raise Awareness and Educate EHDI and Hands & Voices Personnel About Deaf-Blindness
Most EHDI and Hands & Voices personnel have limited experience with deaf-blindness, so it's essential to provide information and training to increase their knowledge of:
- Common risk factors
- The unique needs of infants and toddlers with deaf-blindness
- What your project does and how to contact you
Here are some additional ideas about how to build connections and collaborate on activities:
- Offer to give a talk on deaf-blindness for EHDI and Hands & Voices personnel or other stakeholders
- Offer to write an article for your local Hands & Voices newsletter (if one exists) or ask a parent of a child who is deaf-blind or a deaf-blind adult to write one
- Find out if deaf-blind resources are featured on EHDI and Hands & Voices websites and incorporated into the materials they provide to parents
- Inquire about opportunities to exhibit at EHDI and Hands & Voices events
- Ask Hands & Voices personnel to let you know of opportunities for parents of children who are deaf-blind to participate in meetings where decisions are made
- Offer to provide images of children who are deaf-blind for print or online materials, publications, and websites
The following handouts can be used to raise awareness. Add your project's logo and contact information, but keep references and permissions for any original sources.
Rack Card: Identifying Infants and Toddlers with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss
Quick and easy to digest, this basic deaf-blind awareness information can be placed on tables or in racks at Part C regional offices.
Factsheet: Identifying Infants and Toddlers with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss
Provides information on how to identify infants and toddlers who are deaf-blind. Can be disseminated at regional or statewide training events.
The Impact of Combined Vision and Hearing Loss
Helps providers understand how deaf-blindness influences learning.
For slide presentations and other training materials, see "Provide Training" below.
Improve Referral Processes
To increase referrals, consider working with your EHDI coordinator and/or Hands & Voices contact to create a memorandum of understanding or other type of agreement that outlines a process for referring children with suspected or confirmed vision and hearing loss to your project.
It’s also helpful to share information about early identification of vision loss and create concise materials and referral forms that are easy to read and complete.
Information about early identification of vision loss:
- Tips for Home or School: The Importance of Screening for Vision Loss in Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Early Identification of Vision Problems
Connect with your state’s EHDI Coordinator or Hands & Voices chapter to offer deaf-blind specific training or identify opportunities to integrate training on deaf-blindness into existing programs in the areas of deaf or hard of hearing with disabilities or children with complex needs/multiple disabilities. You may also want to contact organizations relevant to EHDI and Hands & Voices that provide professional development and ask to incorporate training on deaf-blindness. These include the American Speech and Hearing Association and Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side.
- Introduction to Deaf-Blindness Slide Presentation - Can be customized for presentations on risk factors and etiologies commonly associated with deaf-blindness, the importance of early identification and referral, and the uniqueness of deaf-blindness as a disability.
- The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness - A collection of online resources to provide training to early intervention providers and families. The section "Overview of Deaf-Blindness" focuses on the identification of children with deaf-blindness.
Share Screening and Assessment Tools
There are a number of tools that EHDI and Hands & Voices personnel can use in partnership with families to assist in identifying possible vision and/or hearing loss. The information gathered can also be shared with health care providers when requesting additional vision or hearing testing.
Ask your EHDI coordinator about policies in your state regarding vision assessment of infants who do not pass newborn hearing screening.
Information about conditions that put children at risk for deaf-blindness:
- Etiologies of Deaf-Blindness
- Risk Factors for Combined Vision and Hearing Loss
- Risk List for Combined Vision and Hearing Loss in Infants and Toddlers: ICD-10 Codes
- What Does Your Child See? What Does Your Child Hear?