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Looking for In-Class Observation Tools to Show Specific Needs for Intervention

Interveners and Qualified Personnel

Hello Colleagues. I am hoping that I can clearly state a current need I have, and that somebody might point me in a direction to meet this need. A few years ago an academic student moved from a more segregated site to her home school, and that transition was supported by a one-to-one paraprofessional. As part of her duties, she acts as an intervener. Her training came a bit at a time through the OHOA modules (still onoing) and some TA to her and the team from our project. She continued to have other classroom and school duties. As she and the student acclimated, learned new technology, etc, the student did not need as much "close" support. The one-to-one is learning to step back, and I have observed some success, but work in that area is still needed. Some staff do not fully understand the intervener role. There are multiple opinions (including with the family) as to which student behaviors and needs are related to "tween" issues, deaf-blindness, etc, and some opinions that many needs can be filled by technology or other supports instead of an intervener. At the recent IEP meeting, family requested and were supported in having the one-to-one receive university intervener training. Some staff would like documentation that an intervener is needed with DATA, and family and staff want an student-alone observation done with data. I agreed to do so, to support the family and their request for advanced training for the one-to-one. SO, to my request... The one-to-one and I, at the beginning of the school year before any routine is set, will follow the student and use an observational checklist to see WHERE and WHAT the student misses. The TVI and TDHH are sending me samples specific to their disciplines (which might be somewhat relevant in this case), and I thought the IEP Discussion Checklist could also be distilled into some items, but this team is looking for some concrete data, in various environments. Does anybody have a deaf-blind checklist? If it helps, this student with be in 5th grade, uses speech (2 cochlears), LP (but also braille), a variety of technologies, and is very bright and coming into her own with self advocating with the use of microphones during peer discussions, etc... Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Michelle Clyne

Posted Jun 3, 2016 by Michelle Clyne

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Comments (10)

Elizabeth, that is exactly what happened. The fact that the intervener stopped observing so that she could provide access showed the team examples of the NEED of the intervener, and then the subtle differences between MY observations of lack of access and hers demonstrated the benefits of advanced, higher level training. The intervener is currently enrolled in IHE training and is very grateful for the opportunity. The team is now VERY AWARE that no amount of technology or routine can do what a trained intervener can do! Sam, I will share the tool, and yes, it is a time sampling tool. We did that so we could compared times and, we hoped, events without the benefit of audio or video recording (which was not permitted).

Michelle Clyne

Posted Oct 14, 2016 by Michelle Clyne

Thank you for the update, Michelle! That's interesting to hear about all the little things the student was missing--things you wouldn't necessarily even think about. I hope the team now agrees that keeping the intervener and giving her additional training is the way to go.

Elizabeth Bell

Posted Oct 14, 2016 by Elizabeth Bell

Its great you reposted and gave us the outcome from what you originally requested. Would you be willing to share this tool you developed. It sounds like a time sampling sheet with added information?

Sam Morgan

Posted Oct 13, 2016 by Sam Morgan

Hello everybody. I thought I would provide some follow up to my request for an observation tool. Thank you all for your suggestions and hints! In the end, we decided to build a tool that allowed us to collect qualitative information, on specific topics, during specific units of time. We observed during the afternoon of one day, and the morning of another day. When we reported out to the team, it was very informative to them on how often this student's intervener clarifies social situations (students pushing backwards in line due to an unheard teacher directive to stay in the classroom another minute; students had been given a directive to sit on the floor and not in their desks); academic information (a visual joke about whole numbers involving a partially-drawn number three) and access during new situations (handling the peer microphone with a group new to the student during a music event). Doing the observation with the intervener was also a great learning opportunity for the two of us together, since she could share how much the student has grown and all of her little nuances, and I could gently urge the next ways to support independence. Thank you all for supporting me in constructing this experience, and helping it be positive for everybody involved!

Michelle Clyne

Posted Oct 13, 2016 by Michelle Clyne

Thank you indeed, Amy, Barbara, Elizabeth, and Sam. I have been sharing these ideas with team members, who have also been sharing their discipline-specific tools with me. I appreciate your support, so I can assure the team that a thorough search was completed. I think the fact that such a tool does not exist also supports the assumption that a "moment-in-time observation" cannot capture all of the access needs a student with deafblindness will have in an educational environment. I look forward to working with the team and one-to-one as we explore the role of the intervener and hopefully advance her training!

Michelle Clyne

Posted Jun 9, 2016 by Michelle Clyne

Thanks Barbara, Elizabeth and Sam! Michelle, would love to know what you actually select and use. We are cheering for you and this student too. Hoping the data helps. So glad you are doing this to help her and her team.

Amy Parker

Posted Jun 8, 2016 by Amy Parker

Interesting issue. So this is essentially sensory functioning and access. There is one tool that comes to mind which was developed by NJ and the old area 4 a few years back. Well probably more than a few but...
It does have sets of functional/environmentally referenced questions and is observational in nature so it may at the least inform your thinking.
I put a copy in the TA Tools: Child Specific Assessment folder:

Hope that helps

Sam Morgan

Posted Jun 8, 2016 by Sam Morgan

Hi Michelle,
I did an extensive search of our databases and unfortunately didn't have much luck finding anything along the lines of what you're looking for. There are various observation checklists that focus on the classroom environment and/or teacher, but I couldn’t find any that focused on the student, at least not at the level it sounds like she’s at (e.g., the Design to Learn materials are great but are aimed at children who don't have formal communication). By the IEP Discussion Checklist, you mean "Are Interveners Appropriate for Your Student with Deaf-Blindness" (, right? It seems like that might be your best bet. You also might look at New Jersey's "Independent Living Inventories" here:
I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful! Maybe someone else has something they use in their state?

Elizabeth Bell

Posted Jun 6, 2016 by Elizabeth Bell

Michele's comments are are in alignment with my thought processes for this student. In addition, would it be helpful to you to see the template of the behavior task analysis, which includes a table for data collection, and companion documents that show antecedent behaviors, and consequences (attempts with re-directs) that helped. We did this with a student who was having issues, and found the majority of the behaviors came from a need for environmental expansion...

Barbara Martin

Posted Jun 6, 2016 by Barbara Martin

Wow, this is an interesting request and challenge. I will look into our data base but I think focusing on receptive communication (what she misses) might be mapped out from a routine or schedule where you have some video samples. Within the samples, instructional setting, peer-to-peer communication, you could look at how much information she misses both behaviorally and by asking her (since she has language) what she understands about what is happening. That would provide data about her receptive communication and what was missed. If the video had a captioning transcript, you would have some evidence of the messages sent to the group or to her specifically and some documentation. That is very labor intensive and I would only do this for a couple of days and provide 5 minute samples from specific elements within routines. Secondly, I do think that Texas' quality indicators for IEPs might have some helpful domains to use for taking some data too. Fascinating and thanks for sharing.

Amy Parker

Posted Jun 4, 2016 by Amy Parker

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