Helen Keller Field Services – At a Glance
Posted on January 19, 20161 Comment 12 Likes Like this post
Laura Thomas, Director of Field Services, Helen Keller National Center
Helen Keller National Center’s twelve regional
representatives are located in offices throughout the United States. Whether
serving as advocate, resource, facilitator, system change agent or lifelong associate,
regional representatives are an important contact as a child who is deaf-blind reaches
transition age. Regional representatives can be found in IEP meetings, making
referrals to adult services, linking families to other families with adult
children, and sharing information about programs and services at the Helen
Keller National Center. They are the ones working to facilitate the referral
process with a sponsoring Vocational Rehabilitation agency.
Viewed as the central contact within a state for services for adults who are deaf-blind, HKNC regional representatives are involved building the capacity of service agencies or organizations, creating memorandums of understanding, coordinating employment related activities, and supporting deaf-blind organizations. Regional representatives also provide assessment and training, support the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program services, build trainer capacity, and provide older adult age 55+ referral and services. In some states the regional reps collaborate with states on system change initiatives and promote increased accessibility to local services and service provider capacity.
In 2015, through the Helmsley Charitable Trust, HKNC, in collaboration with the states of New York, Oregon, Georgia, Arizona and Missouri, began the process of developing a model for conducting statewide needs assessments with individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss. The work was undertaken with the assistance of each state’s respective regional representative, state VR staff, deaf-blind consumers and other key stakeholders. One to one interviews and focus groups included deaf-blind individuals, parents and spouses. Reports for each state, including data and recommendations, were shared with the lead participating agencies. Data gathered has already provided invaluable input for understanding the adult service needs within each state and for moving ahead with planning for service and training needs.
HKNC's mission to ensure that each individual who is deaf-blind lives, works, and thrives in his/her community of choice, guides the work of the field services staff. Regional representatives are on the road in their respective states, working with individuals who are deaf-blind, their families and service providers, making referrals and identifying new individuals to include on HKNC’s National Registry. In February 2016, we will launch our campaign to “Contact Your HKNC Regional Representative”. We hope that families and service providers will reach out and give us a call. You can find your HKNC regional representative information on the new HKNC website, as well as on the NCDB website.
We look forward to hearing from you!!
HKNC's Twelve Regional Representatives