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Early Identification and Referral

State deaf-blind projects are challenged to engage state systems and local communities in identifying children with deaf-blindness prior to age three and, even more so, in the first year of life. Once a combined vision and hearing loss is recognized, referral to a state deaf-blind project and other appropriate services persists as a challenge. This national initiative is focused on improving early identification and referral outcomes by building partnerships among the National Deaf-Blind TA Network, other OSEP Technical Assistance & Dissemination projects focused on children birth through two, and the broader early intervention community. Please join us in this important work!

Initiative Lead

Technical Assistance & Support

An array of technical assistance is available from the initiative.

Both the Self-Assessment Guide as well as the EI&R Tool Kit are available through the NCDB website. These resources can be used by State or Multi-State Deaf-Blind Projects with or without support from EI&R Initiative staff.

TA can focus on any or all parts of the improvement cycle, including:

  • Completing the Self-Assessment Guide
  • Developing an action plan
  • Implementing evidence-based practices as part of the action plan
  • Evaluating your activities
  • Updating your self-assessment and/or developing a new action plan 
In addition, the 2015-2016 Webinar series is archived, with many useful examples, suggestions and strategies from State and Multi-State Deaf-Blind Project staff who have gone through the process and seen results from their partnerships and work.

Targeted technical assistance can be provided either to a single state or a group of states, supporting efforts throughout the process.

Based on previous experience we have found that working with small groups of state projects, through regularly scheduled meetings, is an effective way to provide support and facilitate the sharing of strategies and resources. These small meeting groups are based on similar state needs and steps in the process.

Individual TA can be requested when additional support is desired or needed to proceed through the Self-Assessment Guide, developing an action plan or implementing evidence based practices. This would entail a longer, more intensive level of support than that provided at the Universal level.

Consultation and coaching is available to customize the tools, materials and strategies available through the EI&R Initiative. This could include materials within the matrix to create a long-range plan for providing training to Part C as well as with the SAG process and Tool Kit.

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 role it plays in bringing state deaf-blind projects and state systems together to improve referral and intervention efforts. Data facts demonstrates the impact of the improvement process by focusing on the increased numbers of infants and toddlers reported for states who have engaged in the process.  

Tools for Technical Assistance

Self-Assessment Guide
The Self-Assessment Guide provides state deaf-blind projects with a comprehensive and systematic process of data-based decision making to analyze current early identification efforts and determine specific strategies to implement to improve efforts at local and state levels.

Early Identification & Referral Toolbox
This collection of resources is intended to supplement the Self-Assessment Guide. It includes background information about the four systems (Part C, medical, EHDI, and community programs), evidence-based practices for addressing identification and referral challenges in your state, and materials developed by state deaf-blind projects that can be used for outreach.  

Early Identification & Referral Improvement Process
The EI&R Improvement Process uses data-based decision making and evidence-based practices to assist state deaf-blind projects in building the capacity of systems within their state to better identify and serve children birth through two who are deaf-blind.  Use the Toolbox to help develop strategies and materials.

New  Early Intervention Framework
This framework offers state deaf-blind projects a collection of online resources that they can use to provide customized training and technical assistance to early intervention providers as well as to project staff and families. It focuses on the identification of children with combined vision and hearing loss, key instructional strategies, and the developmental domains used by early interventionists.

National Webinar Series
Over the course of six months, the EI&R Initiative hosted six national webinars and follow-up drop-in calls for state projects to collectively engage in discussions to further national efforts to more effectively identify children who are deaf-blind at an earlier age. Webinars focused on the improvement process and state projects' experiences working with Part C, EDHI, medical providers, and community programs.  The webinars include many useful examples, suggestions and strategies.

Initiative Group Forum
We learn from each other. We encourage you to reach out to your colleagues at NCDB or in other states with questions, ideas, or strategies to share.

Network Collaboration

Identification, Referral, and Intervention

With the self-assessment and action planning processes being used successfully by state projects, it is important to plan for the development of intervention strategies for each of the four targeted systems: Part C, EHDI, medical proivders, and community programs. In early 2016, a work group was formed to begin to look at training needs for Part C providers and coordinators in regard to identifying children who might qualify for their state deaf-blind project registry, understanding the impact of a combined vision and hearing loss, and learning effective intervention strategies. As a result of this collaborative work, two trainings were developed and delivered to Part C providers in Pennsylvania and Indiana. The work group is using both of these presentations, as well as other existing content, to create a tool that other state deaf-blind projects can use to customize training for Part C providers in their state.

Current Initiative Activities

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

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