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Implementing Evidence-Based Practices for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind: A TA Reference Guide

Selecting Practices or Programs for the Team to Implement

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Selection of specific practices or programs that team members will implement to help a child achieve desired outcomes is the last step in the Exploration Phase. Implementation of these practices/programs will be the focus of the work the state deaf-blind project and team do together. 

Select the practices or programs that best meet the child’s needs

With the team, discuss the range of practices or programs likely to lead to achievement of the identified child goals and outcomes.1, 4 These might involve:

  • Conducting specific assessments (e.g., functional vision/hearing, communication, learning)
  • Using new instructional strategies 
  • Modifying existing instructional strategies

From these options, choose the specific practices or programs the team will implement. The selected practices should be supported by literature that provides a strong conceptual rationale and shows that they are research based or accepted professional practice.11

Advice from Colleagues

I like to pick two or three changes to start with. When considering potential practices, I ask the team members, “If we implemented this, what child changes would we see? Which changes would lead to the most improvement?”
Choose interventions that immediately address the team's concerns and are reasonable to use. When someone begins to give you a hint that something you’re suggesting is not going to happen, it’s probably not going to happen. If you can find another strategy that will have the same outcome and is more likely to be implemented, use that instead.
Clearly define the practices or programs

Interventions that are clearly defined are easier for team members to learn and use.1, 7, 9, 12 Concise written descriptions of essential elements help to:1

  1. Ensure that the practices are teachable, learnable, and doable (you may find it useful to locate or create a document that has step-by-step instructions and illustrations)
  2. Provide criteria (behaviors or actions associated with a specific practice) that you can use as the basis for a checklist or other evaluation tool to measure whether service providers and families are implementing the practices with fidelity

Advice from Colleagues

We tend to suggest interventions that are already well defined and have research backing them.

Tools & Resources

Adapt practices and programs as needed

It is often necessary to tailor a practice so it is a better fit for a specific child, family, school, or district.4

Advice from Colleagues

You can’t just replace what is currently happening for a child—you have to build from where the service providers are.
Things have to be reasonable and doable, or be adapted to make them doable. You never set your kids up for failure. Why set the adults you work with up for failure?

Tools & Resources