Collaborative Opportunity for Parents Begins in January

Posted on January 13, 2015


Patti McGowan,  NFADB
Peggy Malloy, NCDB

With the beginning of a new year, the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) is looking forward to our new 4th cohort of families and parents participating in the collaboration efforts of the free online family/parent training called The Role of Interveners in Educational Settings. The training program uses Module 3 (“The Role of Interveners in Educational Settings”) from the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules. Family/Parent participants learn about the role of interveners, the principles of intervention, and how interveners function as members of a student’s educational team.

Although, the module is one of a series of modules that are being developed by NCDB to serve as a resource for programs to train interveners to work with students who are deaf-blind, we have found that with minor adaptations (e.g., adding information resources pertinent to family members, tailoring a simulation activity to make it family friendly) the module is also an excellent learning tool for parents and families.

The format of the course is primarily self-study, giving participants the opportunity to learn from the comfort of their own homes, at their convenience, and on their schedules.  We also offer individual support via telephone and e-mail and group support via web-conferencing.  The web-conferencing meetings and discussion boards within the module also allow participants to provide support to and learn from each other—e.g., to share their experiences of interacting with school personnel and strategies to address the impact of deaf-blindness on the child and family.

A key feature of the support we offer is to reassure participants that the course is not meant to add stress to their lives.  We provide them with a suggested timeline for moving through the material, but also let them know that we realize that sometimes “life just gets in the way.” Allowing for flexibility of learning has been an asset to this online learning module and is key to creating a positive experience for parents and family members who, on a daily basis, are dealing with the complexity of caring for a child who is deaf-blind. 

Based on data gathered regarding participants’ experiences, we have made minor changes to the way we offer the training over time to better meet parent and family needs.  Together, NFADB and NCDB feel that this endeavor will advance our shared goals of empowering parents and increasing recognition and acceptance of the use of intervener services for students with deaf-blindness.  We are learning together to find out what works and what does not work to meet the needs of families seeking knowledge about intervener services. 

For more information about the next class beginning January 26 2015, see  .If you have questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact: Patti McGowan, NFADB or Peggy Malloy, NCDB

This blog is an excerpt from an article published in the Council for Exceptional Children: Visual Impairment and Deafblind Education Quarterly, vol. 59 (5).  

Link here for the full issue of the publication.  

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