An Open Letter to Interveners

Posted on February 24, 2014


Tina Hertzog  Retired Teacher of Students of Visual Impairments, Helen Keller Fellow

Dear Intervener,

“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, 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. they will 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) 


Comments (11)

Thanks Tina!

Donna Snyder

Posted Jul 20, 2014 by Donna Snyder

This gave me chills. TIna, you have beautifully articulated what I feel and believe. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this letter to interveners.

Johanna Borg

Posted Feb 25, 2014 by Johanna Borg

I agree with Amy. Very moving blog. I'll share it with interveners I have email contact with.

Gloria  Rodriguez-Gil

Posted Feb 25, 2014 by Gloria Rodriguez-Gil

Nice Tina- Thank you!

Patti McGowan

Posted Feb 25, 2014 by Patti McGowan

Thanks for sharing Tina. Very well said!

Shelby Morgan

Posted Feb 25, 2014 by Shelby Morgan

Well said, Tina! Thanks for the inspiration as we look forward to spending time together next week!

Nancy Steele

Posted Feb 25, 2014 by Nancy Steele

Led by a student and a need, felt from the heart, and passionately sharing the knowledge. Great blog.

Molly Black

Posted Feb 25, 2014 by Molly Black

My apologies, I did not mean to type "fame", but rather "family" spell checker was too quick...

Vivecca Hartman

Posted Feb 24, 2014 by Vivecca Hartman

I share in your "bigger dream" as well! I'm so grateful you are a professional and feel as passionate as I, a fame member. Thank you!!!

Vivecca Hartman

Posted Feb 24, 2014 by Vivecca Hartman

Wow !

Gina Sotiropoulos

Posted Feb 24, 2014 by Gina Sotiropoulos

A very moving blog, Tina! Thank you!!!

Amy Parker

Posted Feb 24, 2014 by Amy Parker

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