Learning from Experience

A key activity during this phase is what one source refers to as "improving future applications" by retrospectively analyzing and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the implementation process.4 For child-focused TA, this primarily involves identifying factors that enhanced or impeded the ability of team members to implement new practices with fidelity.

A review of evaluation data can shed light on a number of issues that inform TA processes and activities. Specifically, it can be useful for gathering information about:

  • Strategies that were or were not successful
  • Team characteristics that increased or hindered success
  • School or district characteristics that increased or hindered success

Knowledge gained from specific or multiple TA cases can be used to improve your project's future TA efforts.20 Consider how you can use what was learned to:

  • Improve your project’s overall TA capacity (e.g., upgraded processes or forms)
  • Improve future intensive TA activities
  • Generate ideas for universal or targeted TA (e.g., large-group training)

Advice from Colleagues

In our child-specific TA, we have seen a recurring need for service providers to gain a better understanding of how to assess sensory functioning and design learning experiences that match a child’s available sensory channels. To begin to address this need, we developed training on evaluating sensory function in kids who are deaf-blind that could be used with classroom teachers and OTs. It is designed to help them address sensory access issues together.

Tools & Resources

Reflect on the implications of what was learned from child-focused TA for possible systemic TA activities.1 Does it fit into a larger pattern of common needs in your state or a specific school district? If so, could these needs be addressed by systemic TA efforts? For example:

  • Increased representation of the needs of children who are deaf-blind in state-level policy initiatives
  • Infusing training about deaf-blindness into state-level professional development opportunities 
  • Promoting information sharing among teachers and other personnel who work with students who are deaf-blind in a district or state

One of the deaf-blind project network’s greatest assets is the combined knowledge and expertise of its members. State project personnel can share insights, strategies, planning tools, evaluation tools, and forms via:

  • The State Project Portal, a private group on the National Center on Deaf-Blindness website
  • This TA Reference Guide (contribute to the “Advice from Colleagues” and “Tools & Resources” sections)