Network Collaboration

As we work together, we build both knowledge and relationships. The knowledge comes from what we each know about the issue. The relationship develops from what we are willing to do together to improve practice."

IDEA Partnership

In this current grant cycle, a number of state deaf-blind projects are taking a multi-state approach to sharing resources, expertise, and strategies for some of their technical assistance efforts.  We look forward to the results of their collaborations as they provide insight and focus on practices necessary for effective technical assistance across the network.  We hope to use the Initiative group spaces on the NCDB website as vehicles for dissemination on the progress of this collaborative work. 


The Interdisciplinary Transition Team Initiative

The Interdisciplinary Transition Team Initiative (ITTI) is a transition planning initiative that incorporates evidence based practices for young adults who have combined hearing and vision loss, their families and educational team members. Once a pilot project designed and implemented by the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative, the ITTI has now evolved into a partnership between 12 state deaf-blind projects and will be carried out over years 2014-2018 of the current grant cycle. The overall purpose of the ITTI is to bring interdisciplinary team members together to identify and support the goals of a young adult who is deaf-blind. Once transition teams have been established they are invited to participate in a series of on-site and distance meetings and webinar presentations. These monthly sessions are supplemented with transition planning activities. The teams are provided with guiding principles and practical tools that have proven successful for transition-age young adults who are deaf-blind.

Some anticipated benefits of the ITTI are as follows:

  • Enhanced interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Smoother IEP planning process
  • Person-centered goals designed to meet the student and family’s wishes
  • Enhancement of self-determined behaviors
  • Increased knowledge for families of the planning process and services outside of the educational environment
  • Enhanced quality of life for the student

States included in the partnership: 
Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New England Center (CT, MA, NH, ME), New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia 

Contact: Susan Morrow

Regional Collaboration

  Southeast Deaf-Blind Projects Teaming for Improved Outcomes for Students with Deaf-Blindness, Families and Professionals

Believing that the sum of their collective efforts will increase and strengthen the outcomes of their work, eleven state projects have outlined a series of collaborative activities for partnering within their plans for technical assistance.  States will participate by sharing resources, expertise, time and effort determined by the nature of the activity and the established outcomes. 

Collaboration Activities

The following are potential examples of collaborative projects and activities:

  • Transition Institute for Young Adults with Deaf-Blindness and their Families
  • Family – to – Family Conference Video/Phone Calls
  • Webinar Presentations
  • Trainings: Partnering to bring noted researchers and other presenters into individual states creating a “circuit delivery” of expertise within the region. 
  • Collaboration on issues pertinent to:
    • Teachers and Related Service Providers Serving Students with Deaf-Blindness
    • Interveners
    • Early Intervention Providers
  • Regional Conferences: i.e., CHARGE, or other topics

States Included in the partnership: 
The Deaf-Blind Projects of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida-Virgin Islands, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Contact:  Toni Hollingsworth

A conference in Florida with Dr. Jan van Dijk was initiated through collaboration. Four state Deaf-Blind projects shared costs associated with Dr. van Dijk’s travel expenses. 

Cross Cultural Issues

  Deaf-Blind Cross Cultural Collaborative

This partnership provides the mechanism for a group of state deaf-blind projects to share information, activities, materials and strategies for delivering effective technical assistance to children with deaf-blindness and their families within culturally diverse populations. Though the projects differ geographically, many of the cultural norms and effective practices of service delivery are similar.  Each project will adapt materials and strategies to the language and cultural needs of their families.

Anticipated benefits of the partnership

  • Leveraging of resources
  • Identification of ideas, solutions and materials needed to better serve children, families and service providers
  • Reduced isolation of project staff
  • As appropriate, facilitation of family-to-family connections
  • Increased use of tools and community forums on the NCDB website by service providers from the respective states
  • Contributions by members of the collaborative to the NCDB website in initiative forums including Family Engagement and Early Identification. 

States included in the partnership:
Alaska, Hawaii & Pacific, Puerto Rico, Florida & Virgin Islands

Contact:  Melanie Lee

   Conference Calls With Families

A number of states collaborate to support Spanish speaking family members via twice-monthly, moderated telephone conference calls. Calls are either etiology-specific or related to general deaf-blind topics identified through an ongoing needs assessment processes. Participants are encouraged to participate on a regular basis in order to build ongoing relationships with other family members.

States included in the partnership:

Texas, California, New York, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona

Contact: Myrna Medina (CA) or Clara Berg (NY)

Early Identification

  Screening Vision and Hearing in Infants and Toddlers: A Three-Pronged Approach (TPA)

To improve identification of deaf-blind infants and toddlers, eight western states are joining forces to develop and disseminate eight online training modules on hearing and vision screening of infants and toddlers, to include a new module on identifying birth-to-three year olds at risk for combined vision and hearing loss. Seven modules are based on an existing training conducted regularly in Washington State, Screening Vision and Hearing in Infants and Toddlers: A Three-Pronged Approach (TPA). Based on work by Deborah Chen, this training was developed to help staff of Part C agencies identify infants and toddlers at risk for hearing loss and/or vision impairment. Service providers are trained to use a combination of parent interviews, a developmental skills checklist, and observation to identify birth-to-three year olds in need of further assessment of vision and hearing. In addition, programs have the option of receiving training on the use of otoacoustic emissions equipment and standardized protocols as an objective screening of young children’s hearing. 

A new eighth module on “Infants with combined vision and hearing loss” will be developed in collaboration with staff from the participating state projects. All eight modules will be made available to agencies serving infants and toddlers in our respective states.

States included in the partnership:

Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming

Contact: Nancy Hatfield (WA) 

Intervener Services

  Multi-State Intervener Collaborative (MISC)

The MISC is established to pursue shared goals related to the implementation of Open Hands, Open Access: Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules (OHOA). The intent of the group is to share expertise and experience across states and to collaboratively implement  hosting of modules, development of practicum experiences, and development of tools to improve TA and training for teams serving students who are deaf-blind in each of the participating states.  Sharing knowledge and experience is meant to enhance the quality of services beyond the capacity of the individual states.  The partnership means to work collaboratively on the common goal of providing full access to the educational environment for children who are deaf-blind through the training of highly qualified interveners. Pooling resources for the ongoing implementation of a program to address a shared need for skilled interveners is an effective and efficient strategy that will improve outcomes for children, their families and service providers. 

Collaboration Activities 

  • Establishment of a framework and action plan that outlines responsibilities for state project leaders to implement the NCDB modules
  • Development and testing of tools for implementation with fidelity
  • Collective evaluationcomponentwhichreferencesspecificNCDBsystemchangeandcapacity-building Outcomes and Performance Indicators

Anticipated benefits of the partnership

  • Cooperative approach to creative solutions for solving state system implementation issues
  • Development of Decision Making Tools for Intervener services for IEP Teams and districts
  • Development of an Intervener Collaborative Community of Practice to provide ongoing online and other forms of support and professional growth opportunities to all participants

States included in the partnership:

Delaware, Maryland, New England Center, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C, West Virginia

Contact: Susan Edelman

  Intervener Training Collaborative

This multi-state intervener training collaboration is designed to provide paraprofessionals in Idaho, California, and Montana, who do not want or need a national intervener credential, with an in-service training model that will increase their capacity to support children who are deaf-blind in educational settings. Training is provided through hosted cohorts on Open Hands Open Access (OHOA).

Collaboration Activities

  • Pilot an invited number of paraprofessionals from each state to participate in the first two OHOA modules.  
  • Rotation of hosting responsibilities within the modules: coordination of the presentations, giving feedback on assignments, and participating in an online chat room. 
  • Implementation of follow-up on-site coaching/TA visits to answer questions regarding implementation of the module content.
  • Consolidation of feedback and outcomes for Year 1 to inform process for Years 2-5

States included in the partnership:

California, Montana and Idaho

Contacts: Robin Greenfield (ID), Gail McGregor (MT) or Maurice Belote (CA)

Technical Work Groups (TWG’s)

NCDB identified selected Technical Work Groups (TWG) as one mechanism by which it will actively engage the community in our work.  TWGs will help to increase engagement of a cross section of stakeholders and will assist NCDB in identifying and prioritizing tools, products, training, professional development, and technical assistance activities.

Four TWG’s have been identified to begin work.  Two held a first meeting in March and two more will hold their first meeting in May.   

  • Intervener Services – May 2014
  • Network Engagement (focus on identifying strategies to improve collaboration across the deaf-blind project network) – March 2014
  • Family Engagement – May 2014
  • College and Career Readiness – March 2014

We will use these four TWGs to help establish process and protocol for additional TWGs to be established in the future.  We are just getting started but recognize that messaging about the activities of these groups is important.  We invite you to “stay tuned” for further information.   

There may be other efforts that we have not captured here. Please let us know if there is something that you would like to see included.  Email:

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

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