An Open Letter to Interveners
Posted on February 24, 201411 Comments 0 Likes Like this post
Tina Hertzog Retired Teacher of Students of Visual Impairments, Helen Keller Fellow
“It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart. I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it. I would be nothing without you.”
The lyrics to the song, Wind Beneath My Wings, express my feelings about you and the journey you have undertaken. For you see, as a teacher of students with visual impairments who works with students with deafblindness, I WOULD BE NOTHING WITHOUT YOU! And, dare I say, neither would any other professional serving your student. Each professional can bring their expertise and experience to the team, but with the training you have undertaken, you will assist us in applying our expertise and knowledge to our student. I need you... we need you... our student needs you. You will take our suggestions, our recommendations, and weave them into the fabric of our student’s day, letting us know what works, what needs to be adjusted, what needs to be replaced. I feel so strongly about what you are doing, because I too have been on a similar quest for knowledge.
It is not uncommon to provide vision support services to students with multiple disabilities, but, providing services to students with deafblindness, especially those with complex needs, is atypical. So the path that led me to contribute to the Open Hands Open Access modules is the same path that that has led you on your journey of becoming an intervener...a quest for knowledge about students with deafblindness.
In 2008, after 28 years as a vision teacher, a kindergartener with CHARGE Syndrome was assigned to my caseload. Over the course of that school year it became clear to me that in order to meet the needs of mystudent, I needed a deeper knowledge and understanding of deafblindness. I decided to take a sabbatical and enroll in graduate level courses in deafblindness at Texas Tech University. The courses that I took, the people that I met, the workshops I attended, created a tapestry of understanding and rekindled the fire of passion for this field I had developed in undergraduate school many years earlier. A year later, I felt I had the tools to support not only the student, but also her educational team.
When asked by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness to be a Module Contributor to assist in the development of the Open Hands Open Access modules, I didn’t hesitate to voice a resounding YES! NCDB, too, was on a quest for knowledge, knowledge from those of us in the field—technical assistance providers, teachers, parents, interveners. It started with four modules, expanded to nine, and is now expanding again to sixteen. They sequentially build on each other with the expectation that the modules, when complete, will provide a comprehensive training program that supports the Council for Exceptional Children’s Knowledge and Skill Competencies for Interveners. New contributors are invited for each round of module development, enlarging the circle of knowledge inward toward the modules and outward toward the schools, educational teams, parents, students, and...you. Why? Because we know how it feels to face a student and not be sure what that student is trying to tell us, or why they are demonstrating challenging behaviors.
If I could dream a bigger dream, one day all the members of our student’s educational team will have the knowledge and understanding necessary to meet their needs. But until then, you are there. You are the wind beneath our wings. And more importantly, you are wind beneath your student’s wings. Oh...how they will fly...so high they will touch the sky.
Henley, L. (Writer), & Silbar, J. (Writer) (1982). Wind beneath my wings [Recorded by Bette Midler] on Beaches [Album] Atlantic Records (1988)