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Family Engagement

Parents of children with deaf-blindness face significant, long-term challenges in acquiring the knowledge they need to effectively engage with school and community systems. In addition, they are widely dispersed across the country, making it difficult to find and maintain supportive connections. This national initiative collaborates with state projects and national family organizations to ensure that families have the support they need to partner effectively with education and service providers and create a cohesive network of family leaders across the country.

Initiative Lead

Technical Assistance & Support

The national technical assistance within this initiative focuses on facilitation, training, collaboration, and the creation of publicly available tools and information to support and educate families. Opportunities and resources include:

  • An information and support group for state deaf-blind project family engagement coordinators 
  • Consultation to state projects on building training and support for families in their states
  • Resources and strategies for collaboration with state parent centers
  • Families Matter video stories 
  • A special section of our website with essential information for families

Questions related to technical assistance or one-on-one consultations are available with Initiative Lead, Megan Cote.

Initiative Background & Data Facts 
Understand the intent of this national initiative and the unique partnerships it supports to assist families and to develop family leaders.  

Tools for Technical Assistance

Families Matter Stories    

Families Matter video stories

Stories are a wonderful way to share information and experiences. Through this initiative, we regularly publish stories about children who are deaf-blind and their families. These stories—told mostly through video by families—highlight key subjects such as communication, literacy, movement, transition, empowerment, and teaming. 

Recommended Knowledge and Skills for State Deaf-Blind Project Family Engagement Coordinators   
This document outlines recommended knowledge and skills for individuals who serve in the role of family engagement coordinator for state deaf-blind projects. The primary purpose of having a set of agreed-upon knowledge and skills is to serve as a guide for identifying and designing training opportunities.

Working Together for Families       
State deaf-blind projects and parent centers in each state create alliances to support families. This report highlights collaborative activities between these two types of programs, which are both funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Although state deaf-blind projects and parent centers have very different work scopes and objectives, they share the goal of helping families partner effectively with early intervention and educational systems.

Family Needs Assessment: Summary Report
This report outlines the results of a family needs assessment conducted by NCDB in 2017. Topics include child and family needs and strengths, experiences with agencies and service providers, experiences with other families, and family supports.

#DBFamilyFunFacts   
Every Friday NCDB posts a Family Fun Fact on Facebook and Twitter. These stories, photos, and videos celebrate families of children who are deaf-blind, and provide tips and ideas that might be useful to other families. They are gathered and provided to us by family engagement coordinators from state deaf-blind projects across the country. 

Network Collaboration

Training Opportunities

Supporting Family Engagement Coordinators

Many state deaf-blind projects have family engagement coordinators (FECs), specific staff members or consultants who support and mentor families. Since January 2015, an expanding group of FECs has been meeting online monthly to network and share ideas and resources. In July 2016, the group met in Texas, prior to an NFADB Symposium, for training and to create action plans to collaboratively improve services for families in their states. Follow the group's journey by reading about the family engagement coordinator scarf that is traveling the country.

Family to Family Support

Building Family-to-Family Communities

The Family-to-Family Communities Project offers a unique way for families to connect, share information and resources, and offer support to one another. Groups meet once per month for 90 minutes via phone and/or videoconferencing. This project was developed by deaf-blind projects in the Southeast who worked with NCDB and NFADB to organize ongoing conference calls for parents of children with deaf-blindness. Contact Carol Darrah at the Georgia Sensory Assistance Project for information. 

Grief Support for Families of Children With Deaf-Blindness

Online, peer-to-peer meetings are available for parents who have lost a child. They provide an opportunity to process grief and learn about coping strategies that have helped others. For information, contact Megan Cote, NCDB Family Engagement Initiative Lead. NCDB, NFADB, and state deaf-blind project personnel have also compiled a list of additional grief resources for families

Current Initiative Activities


NCDB : The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 | info@nationaldb.org

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