Literacy Practice for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind - Evidence Base Bibliography

by National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness on Aug 31, 2013
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This is a partial list of materials on this topic available from the NCDB Catalog Database. If you have additional questions, please contact us via email:

Updated 2/2015

Calendars : For Students With Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness --Blaha, Robbie. Austin: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (2001) This guide was developed for staff and families of students with multiple impairments including deafblindness and other disabilities. It communicates the benefits of the calendar systems, provides information on calendar programming for students, and provides information on the continuum of calendars for staff and families to help students expand their skills. Includes tips and directions for anticipation, daily, and expanded calendars, checklists and evaluations. Also available in Spanish. Cost: $30.00. Available from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Business Office, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas 78756-3494. Phone: (512) 206-9427 or (512) 206-9215. Publisher's web site:

CHARGE Syndrome : Multiple Congenital Anomalies Including Disorders of All Senses and Speech, Language, Feeding, Swallowing, and Behavior --Thelin, James W.; Swanson, Lori A. THE ASHA LEADER, vol. 11, #14, October 2006. (2006) The authors present an explanation of the genetic disorder known as CHARGE syndrome and describe how certain symptoms and challenges to development relate to early intervention services provided by audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Issues regarding evaluation, diagnosis, and habilitation in the areas of hearing and communication are addressed. Available on the web:

Colby's Daily Journal : A School-Home Effort to Promote Communication Development --Bruce, Susan; Conlon, Kim. TEACHING EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN PLUS, vol. 2, #1, September 2005. (2005) Daily communication journals are a powerful tool to promote communication development in children with severe disabilities. This online article describes the components of a communication journal created for Colby, a 4-year-old boy with deaf-blindness, and includes a videotape of him using the journal. Each page of the daily journal features three parts: a print or braille label, a recording device, and a tangible symbol. Children should participate in both the preparation of the daily journal and its review, thus gaining opportunities to develop associations between important school events and the symbols that represent those events. The review of the daily journal in the home creates opportunities for children to recall school events and to share those events with family members. Includes tips for developing communication books. Available on the web:

Colby’s Growth to Language and Literacy : The Achievements of a Child who is
Congenitally Deafblind --Bruce, Susan; Randall, Amy; Birge, Barbara. TEACHING EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN PLUS, vol. 5, #2, November 2008. (2008)
 This article tells the story of how Colby, a young boy who is congenitally deafblind, developed language and literacy. Narrative is coupled with video to illustrate how the following four instructional approaches and interventions supported his development: (1) daily schedule, (2) home-school journal, (3) experiential based literacy, and (4) child-guided instruction. Both Colby’s mother and his teachers developed individualized literacy lessons that were delivered with daily consistency. Repetition of highly interesting activities paired with consistent exposure to representations about those activities (expressed in objects, verbalizations, sign language, and braille) supported Colby to literacy. Available on the web:

Communication: The Speech and Language Perspective --Swanson, L.A. San Diego: Plural Publishing, Inc. CHARGE Syndrome, T.S. Hartshorne, M. A.Hefner, S.L.H.Davenport, J.W..Thelin (Eds.) (2011) Published and/or formal research on communication skills in individuals with CHARGE syndrome is limited (Peltokorpi & Huttunen, 2008). Thus, the bulk of the information presented in chapter 25 is based on personal observations or anecdotal reports from other professionals and parents. At this stage in the development of the understanding of communication in CHARGE, the anecdotal information and parental reports constitute some of the best information available. This chapter focuses on modes of communication, factors affecting communication development, and finally communication skills of individuals with CHARGE. Publisher's web site:

Competencies for Teachers of Learners who are Deafblind --McLetchie, Barbara, A. B.; Riggio, Marianne. --Perkins National Deaf-Blind Training Project. Watertown, MA: Perkins National Deaf-Blind Training Project. (1997) Teachers of deafblind learners, in this case infants, children, and youth, must have specialized competencies in order to meet the complex and unique needs of their students. Areas of knowledge delineated here are the outcome of a collaborative process involving university faculty and state deaf-blind project directors and are intended as a blueprint for personnel preparation programs in deafblindness. Areas of competencies discussed: general knowledge about deafblindness; personal identity, relationships and self esteem; concept development; communication; hearing-vision; orientation and mobility; environment and materials; and professional issues. May be purchased for $5 from: Public Relations and Publications Department, Perkins School for the Blind, 175 N. Beacon St., Watertown MA 02472. Phone: 617-972-7328. Fax: 617-972-7334. Available in Spanish from DB-LINK. Publisher's web site:

Developing Basic Language Forms --Crook, Carol; Miles, Barbara. Watertown, MA: Perkins School for the Blind. Remarkable Conversations: A Guide to Developing Meaningful Communication with Children and Young Adults Who Are Deafblind. Barbara Miles & Marianne Riggio (Eds.), pp. 180-213. (1999) This chapter includes information about special considerations in developing language with students who are deafblind, increasing vocabulary, language activities, integrating language learning into other subject areas, specific language lessons, literacy as part of language learning, writing and language learning (for learners with useful vision), and learning Braille.

Educational Considerations for Students with CHARGE Syndrome --Majors, Martha. Germany: Median-Verlag von Killisch-Horn GmbH. Compendium on CHARGE Syndrome: Multi-Disciplinary and International Perspectives, U. Horsch and A. Scheele (Eds.) 2011. (2011) Chapter 3 addresses educational and therapeutic perspectives based on students with CHARGE syndrome in the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind.

The Emergent Literacy of Preschool Students Who Are Deaf-Blind : A Case Study --McKenzie, Amy R.; Davidson, Roseanna. JVIB, November 2007, Volume 101, Number 11, pp. 720-725. (2007) This article reports on the results of a case study that demonstrated that preschool students who are deaf-blind are receiving emergent literacy supports similar to the those of preschool students without disabilities. The use of research-based emergent literacy supports for all students is reinforced by the requirements of Reading First by providing access to equal educational opportunities, specifically those that address literacy. However, the lack of assessment in the area of literacy media is alarming. The results indicate that the field of deaf-blindness endorses the use of research-based practices in emergent literacy. However, the field does not refer to these practices with the same terminology as the field of emergent literacy, which creates the illusion that research-based practices are not used. Although modifications and accommodations are needed, the basic principles remain the same. Thus, teachers of students who are deaf-blind need to be familiar with current research on literacy. Publisher's web site:

Emergent Literacy Supports for Students Who Are Deaf-Blind or Have Visual and Multiple Impairments : A Multiple-case Study --McKenzie, Amy R. JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT & BLINDNESS, vol.103, #5, May 2009, pp.291-302. (2009) In this study, seven classrooms of students with deaf-blindness or visual and multiple impairments were observed to document the emergent literacy supports that were present including environmental characteristics, strategies, or activities. The findings revealed that the majority of classrooms used emergent literacy supports that were previously documented for students without disabilities. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Environments That Encourage Communication --Crook, Carol; Miles, Barbara. Watertown, MA: Perkins School for the Blind. Remarkable Conversations: A Guide to Developing Meaningful Communication with Children and Young Adults Who Are Deafblind. Barbara Miles & Marianne Riggio (Eds.), pp. 76-93. (1999) This chapter includes information about the following characteristics of environments that encourage communication: respectful, responsive, mutually interactive, provide opportunities for choice-making, compensate for sensory losses by adapting physical and social circumstances (includes specifics about visual, auditory, and tactual modifications), provide opportunities for generalizing communication across settings, encourage a variety of communicative functions, provide a balance of structure and spontaneity, recognize the importance of mutual enjoyment.

Literacy For Persons Who Are Deaf-Blind --Miles, Barbara, M.Ed. Monmouth, OR: DB-LINK: National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are Deaf-Blind. (2000) This article discusses the importance of literacy for persons who are deaf-blind, the social functions of reading and writing, and the conditions necessary for the development of literacy. Accessibility of literacy materials, including adapting materials to compensate for sensory losses is discussed and specific suggestions are provided. Connecting literacy to experiences and interests is stressed through use of memory boxes, poetry or journal writing. Available on the web: Publisher's web site:

A Review of Research on the Literacy of Students with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities --Parker, Amy T.; Pogrund, Rona L. JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT & BLINDNESS, vol. 103, #10, October-November 2009, pp.635-648. (2009) Research on the development of literacy in children with visual impairments and additional disabilities is minimal even though these children make up approximately 65% of the population of children with visual impairments. This article reports on emerging themes that were explored after a review of the literature revealed nine literacy studies that included students with visual impairments and additional disabilities.

Teaching Strategies of the van Dijk Curricular Approach --MacFarland, S. Z. C. JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT AND BLINDNESS, May-June 1995, pp. 222-228. (1995) The combined loss of vision and hearing affects the learning areas of communication, socialization, conceptualization, and movement. The van Dijk curricular approach addresses these learning areas within the context of teaching children who are deaf-blind. This article presents the major teaching strategies---including coactive movement, sequential memory, and symbolic communication---in implementing the approach.

Usinig Calendar Systems with Children with Deafblindness --Blaha, Robbie, M.Ed. Logan, UT: SKI-HI Institute, Utah State University. Understanding Deafblindness: Issues, Perspectives, and Strategies, L. Alsop, M.Ed. (Ed.) (pp. 467-481) One of the typical modifications recommended for many individuals with deafblindness is the use of some type of calendar. When a calendar is suggested, parents and professionals often have many questions. This section addresses some of the most common questions. Available from Hope Publishing, Inc. Phone/Fax: 435-245-2888 .E-mail: Cost: $175.00.

Videophone Technology and Students with Deaf-Blindness : A Method for Increasing Access and Communication --Emerson, Judith; Bishop, John. JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT & BLINDNESS, vol. 106, #10, October-November 2012, pp. 622-633. Seeing the Possibilities with Videophone Technology began as research project funded by the National Center for Technology Innovation. The project implemented a face-to-face social networking program for students with deaf-blindness to investigate the potential for increasing access and communication using videophone technology. Ten students with deaf-blindness aged 16 to 20 in four southeastern states were recruited through the network of Deaf-Blind Project offices throughout the United States. Criteria for selection to participate in the study were that the participants needed to have enough functional visual acuity to access a 22-inch videophone monitor and use manual sign language as a mode of communication. After a videophone was installed in each participant's home and school, data were collected over six months, using three primary methods of collection. The data were analyzed through a qualitative design method. The primary outcomes were increased accessibility for interpersonal communication among the students with deaf-blindness, seen notably in subscales of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) and through the development of themes involving the cultivation and maintenance of friendships with peers through interaction using videophone technology. With the role of interactive technologies in our ever-increasing digital landscapes, timing is ripe for research that aids the advancement of accessibility to information and social interaction, particularly among populations that have historically been marginalized in traditional educational systems. Dissemination of the results of the project through the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness and the American Association of the Deaf-Blind will encourage practitioners in the field to replicate the project's activities with videophone technology to benefit youths who are deaf-blind.

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