Division on Visual Impairments

VIDBE Quarterly Volume 59(5)

A quarterly newsletter from the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Visual Impairments containing practitioner tips for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and other professionals.

Issue link: http://dvi.uberflip.com/i/422067

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Page 33 of 72

Teacher of the Deafblind Pilot Program in Texas: Part I Chris Montgomery Deafblind Education Specialist, Teacher of the Visually Impaired montgomeryc@tsbvi.edu Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired TSBVI Outreach Programs Background Unique Needs of the Deafblind Student Population Students with deafblindness (DB) are considered a low-incidence population nationally. These students require specialized support to access environmental information, to develop communication, and to develop concepts about the world around them due to the significant impact caused by the combined loss of vision and hearing. Although local districts may provide vision and hearing services, there is often a gap in specific planning and programming to address their educational service needs due to the lack of available professionals with training specific to deafblindness at the local level. Many districts struggle to find the internal resources to accommodate the educational needs of these students and their families (Blaha, Cooper, Irby, Montgomery, & Parker, 2009). During the 1970s we saw the creation of regional centers for children with deafblindness. They provided a national network for program development, and sharing of information, and tended to be staffed by people with specialized training. Most importantly, the regional centers had the responsibility to develop direct service for children with deafblindness, prior to the enactment of mandatory educational legislation. While acknowledging the shortcomings of this time period – most 34

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