Collaborations Across the Network

Posted on May 12, 2014


"As we work together, we build both knowledge and relationships. The knowledge comes from what we each know about the issue. The relationship develops from what we are willing to do together to improve practice."

                                                                                                                                IDEA Partnership

In this new cycle of funding state deaf-blind projects are collaborating with each other and with NCDB to share resources, expertise, and strategies in the delivery of technical assistance. Following you will find a brief overview of work that, in many instances, is already unfolding. Over the next year, as a National Deaf-Blind TA network, we can look forward to the insights and outcomes provided by this shared work.

Cross Cultural Issues

The Deaf-Blind Cross Cultural Collaborative provides the mechanism for a group of state deaf-blind projects to share strategies for delivering effective technical assistance to children with deaf-blindness and their families within culturally diverse populations. Though the projects differ geographically, many of the cultural norms and effective practices of service delivery are similar. Anticipated benefits include leveraged resources, innovative solutions in service design, reduced isolation of project staff, and a collective voice representing diverse cultures informing national initiatives. States included in the partnership: Alaska, Florida-Virgin Islands, Hawaii-Pacific, Puerto Rico.

National Conference Calls have proven to be an effective strategy for reaching Spanish speaking families. Currently, a number of states are collaborating twice-monthly, to provide moderated telephone conference calls. Participants are encouraged to join on a regular basis in order to build ongoing relationships with other family members. States included in the partnership: Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York Texas.

Early Identification

To improve identification of infants and toddlers who are deaf-blind, nine western states are joining forces to develop and disseminate eight online training modules on hearing and vision screening of infants and toddlers. Screening Vision and Hearing in Infants and Toddlers: A Three-Pronged Approach (TPA), a set of seven modules based on work by Deborah Chen, were developed to help staff of Part C agencies identify infants and toddlers at risk for hearing loss and/or vision impairment. A new module, Infants With Combined Vision and Hearing Loss, will be developed and all nine modules will be made available to agencies serving infants and toddlers in the participating states. States included in the partnership: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Intervener Services

The Multi-State Intervener Collaborative (MISC) brings together state projects pursuing shared goals related to the implementation of Open Hands, Open Access: Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules (OHOA). The intent of the group is to share expertise and experience and to collaboratively implement the hosting of modules, the development of practicum experiences, and development of tools to improve TA and training for teams in each of the participating states. Sharing knowledge and experience is meant to enhance the quality of services beyond the capacity of the individual states. States included in the partnership: Delaware, Maryland-Washington D.C, New England Center (CT, MA, NH, ME), New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia.  


                                          OHOA module creators at work in Phoenix, March 2014

The Intervener Training Collaborative is a multi-state intervener training collaboration designed to provide paraprofessionals in participating states, who do not want or need a national intervener credential, with an in-service training model that will increase their capacity to support children who are deaf-blind in educational settings. Training is provided through hosted cohorts in Open Hands Open Access (OHOA). The collaborative will rotate hosting responsibilities in the modules, implement follow up on-site coaching, and develop protocols for the process for years 2-5 of the grant cycle. States included in the partnership: California, Idaho, and Montana.

Regional Collaboration

Believing that the sum of their collective efforts will increase and strengthen the outcomes of their work, eleven state projects have formed the Southeast Deaf-Blind Projects Teaming for Improved Outcomes for Students with Deaf-Blindness, Families and Professionals. States will share resources, time, and expertise in the development of transition institutes, family to family video/conference calls, webinars, trainings, regional conferences and focused efforts involving educators, interveners and early intervention providers. States included in the partnership: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida-Virgin Islands, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.


                            A conference in Florida with Dr. Jan van Dijk was a multi-state effort


The Interdisciplinary Transition Team Initiative (ITTI) is a transition planning initiative that incorporates evidence based practices for young adults who have combined hearing and vision loss, their families and educational team members. Once a pilot project designed and implemented by the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative, the ITTI has now evolved into a partnership between 12 state deaf-blind projects. The overall purpose of the ITTI is to bring interdisciplinary team members together to identify and support the goals of a young adult who is deaf-blind. Transition teams participate in a series of webinars, on-site and distance meetings and are also provided with guiding principles and practical tools that have proven successful for transition-age young adults. States included in the partnership: Florida, Kansas, Maryland-Washington D.C., Mississippi, New England Center (CT, MA, NH, ME), New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia.

NCDB Technical Work Groups

NCDB identified Technical Work Groups (TWG) as one mechanism to increase the engagement of a cross section of stakeholders in our national work and to assist in prioritizing and informing our national technical assistance activities.Four TWG’s have been identified to begin work. Two groups held a first meeting in March and two more will hold their first meeting in May.

  • Network Engagement - March 2014
  • College and Career Readiness - March 2014
  • Intervener Services - May 2014
  • Family Engagement - May 2014

NCDB appreciates the effort of all who have agreed to participate in the TWG’s. We are just getting started but recognize that messaging about the activities of these groups is important. We invite you to “stay tuned” for further information.

Find detailed information and contacts for the above activities on the website.

 CEC Division on Visual Impairments Agrees Unanimously to Include Deafblindness in Name

At the recent Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) international meeting in April, the CEC Division on Visual Impairments (DVI) unanimously voted to change its name to the Division on Visual Impairments and Deafblindness

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