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Early Identification and Intervention

This initiative promotes strategies and processes that state deaf-blind projects can use to:

  • Improve early identification and intervention outcomes
  • Provide appropriate and effective intervention to infants, toddlers, and their families
It emphasizes building partnerships between state deaf-blind projects and with the broader early intervention community, especially Part C.

Initiative Lead

Technical Assistance & Support


Work in this initiative has involved the development of a number of resources and tools that state deaf-blind projects can use to improve early identification and intervention. These include:

  • Early Identification of Infants Who Are Deaf-Blind – A report on early identification needs in the field of deaf-blindness, and steps NCDB has taken to address them
  • Monthly EI &R News - The latest information about activities, materials, and opportunities related to early identification, referral, and intervention
  • 2015-2017 Webinar Series – Recordings of webinars that describe state deaf-blind project experiences as they work to improve early identification and intervention (includes useful examples, suggestions, and strategies)
See also, “Tools for Technical Assistance” below.

Improving Early Identification and Intervention

NCDB staff are available to provide consultation to state deaf-blind projects regarding use of the Early Identification and Referral Self-Assessment Guide. Projects use the guide to:

  • Analyze current early identification and referral efforts in four systems (Part C, Early Hearing Detection and intervention [EHDI], medical providers, and community programs)
  • Select and implement strategies to improve identification and referral
Read about the experiences of state deaf-blind projects that have used the guide.

Increasing Service Provider Knowledge and Skills

TA in this area involves assisting state deaf-blind projects to develop training opportunities for early intervention providers and families using The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness.

Initiative Background and Data Facts

Learn about the intent of the EI&R national initiative and the unique role it plays in bringing state deaf-blind projects and state systems together to improve referral and intervention efforts.

Tools for Technical Assistance

Early Identification and Referral Self-Assessment Guide

This guide leads users through a process to:

  • Assess Part C, medical, EHDI, and community systems in their states
  • Determine whether factors exist that contribute to under-identification, under-referral, or both
  • Scrutinize the state’s current situation and identify the systems and issues with the highest potential for change
  • Create and implement an action plan designed to bring about desired changes

Early Identification & Referral Toolbox

This collection of resources supplements the Self-Assessment Guide. It includes background information about the four early intervention systems (Part C, medical, EHDI, and community), evidence-based practices for addressing identification and referral challenges, and outreach materials developed by state deaf-blind projects.

The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness

This framework offers a collection of online resources for developing customized training and technical assistance for early intervention providers 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. The selection of resources was guided by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices. State deaf-blind projects are encouraged to use any combination of resources from the framework to design their own trainings.

Self-Assessment Guide Stories

The stories featured here highlight successes of state deaf-blind projects that, by using the SAG and an associated action-planning process, were able to establish relationships with systems responsible for early identification of children with disabilities in their states and develop clear processes for identification and referral. As a result, they boosted the number of children on their registries.

Network Collaboration

Part C Workgroup

This group of state deaf-blind project personnel was formed in 2016 to assess Part C provider training needs related to:

  • The identification of children with deaf-blindness
  • The impact of a combined vision and hearing loss on early learning
  • Effective intervention strategies
Group members subsequently developed presentations for Part C providers in Pennsylvania and Indiana that were incorporated into The Sooner the Better framework described above.

Early Identification, Referral, and Intervention Discussion Groups

Between September 2017 and February 2018, twelve state deaf-blind projects participated in discussion groups related to:

  • Improving early identification and referral using the Self-Assessment Guide
  • Increasing service provider knowledge and skills using The Sooner the Better framework
Group members shared successes, discussed challenges, and collectively identified strategies to promote finding infants and toddlers, getting them referred to their state deaf-blind projects, and providing effective intervention. Read Early Intervention Discussion Group Stories to learn about their experiences.

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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