Working Together for Families Maryland


State Deaf-Blind Project: Connections Beyond Sight and Sound (CBSS)
Parent Center: Parents’ Place of Maryland (PPMD)

Submitted by
Donna Riccobono, Project Director of CBSS
Jeni Stepanek, Education Specialist at CBSS

At Connections Beyond Sight and Sound (CBSS), our goal is to improve outcomes for children with deaf-blindness in the Maryland and Washington, DC area. Among other services, we provide education and support to families. Our collaborative work with Parents’ Place of Maryland (PPMD) makes it possible to expand the learning and social opportunities that benefit our families.

Screenshot of a flyer for a family learning weekend.

Educational Programs 
CBSS works with PPMD to help them conduct one of their most popular annual educational opportunities, the Special Education LEADers Training Program, offered at no cost to parents and family members throughout the state. During six monthly workshop sessions, participants explore topics such as special education law, effective advocacy, the IEP process, and dispute resolution. PPMD returns the favor by supporting the CBSS annual Family Learning Weekend. This year’s event was spectacular! Held in September in Columbia, Maryland, the weekend was well attended and earned great reviews by both participants and presenters. 

Family Fun Activities
We also team with PPMD to help families make connections with each other and have fun. A recent example was “Family Day at the Farm,” held in May 2015. Children with deaf-blindness and/or multiple disabilities from Maryland, DC, and Virginia were able to experience a farm, pet small and large animals, feed ducks, ride a horse, and much, much more. 

In addition to providing programs and activities that support our families, a CBSS staff member participates as a member of the Board of Directors for PPMD and a PPMD staff member serves on the CBSS Advisory Committee. What makes our partnership with PPMD work is our mutual respect and excitement about working for and with families. Each year, we continue to meet new families who are dealing with challenges related to deaf-blindness. And each year we will continue to do all we can to improve the outcomes for their children, through our CBSS project activities and collaborative work with dedicated partners. 

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