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NCDB Intervener Services Initiative Update - February 2015

Interveners and Qualified Personnel

NCDB Intervener Services Initiative Update - February 2015

Interveners and Qualified Personnel

This page was last updated on Jul 15, 2014 at 10:33 am


This page is updated periodically to reflect current activities. In this February 2015 version, there are updates to:

  • Intervener Services Technical Work Group (TWG)
  • State Deaf-Blind Project Survey
  • Interveners in Home and Community Settings Work Group
  • Guide to Help IEP Teams Make Informed Decisions About Intervener Services
  • Family Training

If you have any questions, contact Amy Parker at 503-838-8287 or

Background - NCDB Recommendations for Improving Intervener Services

The intervener services initiative began in the fall of 2011 when OSEP asked NCDB to:

  1. collect information about current intervener services across the country and
  2. develop recommendations for improving national, state, and local intervener services

The recommendations were published in July 2012 and are available at: (click on “Development Process” and “Acknowledgements” to learn about how the recommendations were developed and the stakeholders who were involved).

All current initiative activities are based on the Recommendations for Improving Intervener Services.  Here is an update of some of the activities that we have been working on recently.  The Intervener Services Technical Work Group (TWG), established in May 2014, is assisting NCDB in the coordination and planning of activities.

Intervener Services Technical Work Group (TWG)

The most recent meeting of the Intervener Services TWG was on December 12. 

State Deaf-Blind Project Intervener Services Survey

DB Summit 2014

Thanks to everyone who attended the session on Recommendations 1 and 2 – Recognition and Appropriate Use of Intervener Services) at DB Summit in July.  There was lots of great discussion and many ideas were shared regarding moving forward with these recommendations. You can find the notes from the session here.  

Use of a Consistent Definition of Intervener Services (implementation strategy under Rec. 1)

As part of NCDB’s nationwide needs assessment conducted prior to developing the recommendations we found that although there is general agreement among the state deaf-blind projects about the meaning of the term “intervener” as it is used in educational settings, the lack of a consistently applied definition likely contributes to a widespread misunderstanding of intervener services among families and educational personnel who have not previously been exposed to the concept.  

To address this concern, we developed a definition of intervener services using the following process:

  • an extensive review of existing publications that described intervener services,
  • consultation with numerous stakeholders, and
  • a survey disseminated to all state deaf-blind projects to obtain feedback.

We believe that this definition represents the best knowledge of intervener services in educational settings that is available at this point in time.  The definition is not meant to apply to interveners who work in other (e.g., home and community) settings.

Interveners in Home and Community Settings Work Group (implementation strategy under Rec. 1)

Although the focus of NCDB’s initiative is on the use of intervener services in early intervention and educational settings, the nature of the disability of deaf-blindness makes these services important in home and community settings as well.  Coordination across service settings is essential. Therefore, within the first recommendation, there is an implementation strategy that calls for the establishment of a work group to explore issues related to interveners in home and community settings. The work group was convened in 2013 and recently completed a position paper, "Interveners in the Home and Community: An Under-Recognized Imperative." The paper that summarizes current knowledge about the use of interveners in homes and communities and proposes actions to provide greater access to interveners for people of all ages who are deaf-blind.  It   For more information about this work group contact Mike Fagbemi (

On December 3, NFADB and NCDB held a webinar called Role of the Intervener in Home and Community across the Lifespan.

Guide to Help IEP Teams Make Informed Decisions About Intervener Services (implementation strategy under Rec. 2)

Between now and the end of the year, NCDB will be pilot testing a guide for educational teams called: 

Are Intervener Services Appropriate for Your Student With Deaf-Blindness?: An IEP Team Discussion Guide

The current development team for this guide includes Beth Kennedy, Cindi Robinson, Martha Veto, Cyral Miller, Linda Alsop, John Killoran, Mark Schalock, Jay Gense, and Peggy Malloy. There have been a number of iterations of this guide and various people have been involved along the way.  In addition to the current team listed above, they include: Leslie Buchanan, Robbie Blaha, Holly Cooper, Chris Montgomery, Jenny Lace, Clara Berg, and Jerry Petroff.  All involved have also been very generous in sharing materials used in their states.  A special thank you goes to Texas Deafblind Outreach for giving us permission to draw heavily from their document, “Determining the Need for an Intervener in Educational Settings.”  Finally, thanks to recent reviewers Maurice Belote, Kathee Scoggin, and Alana Zambone.

If you know of a team that might be interested in piloting the guide, please contact: 

Peggy Malloy, Implementation Practices Coordinator, NCDB (503-838-8598;

Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA): Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules (Rec. 3)

The development of the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Intervener Learning Modules continues.  These modules are a national resource designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students who are deaf-blind and are being served in educational settings (ages 3 through 21).

Currently, eight modules are publicly available, 7 more are at a field-testing stage (field-testing has either been completed or is in process), and 9 are under development

State and university adopters are using these modules to provide targeted technical assistance or as a part of formal coursework.  Additionally, anyone can register to review or "take" modules as a type of self-guided study (   Click here for a list of the modules that are available and under development.

When completed, there will be a full set of modules that align with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Specialization Knowledge and Skill Set for Paraeducators Who Are Interveners for Individuals with Deaf-blindness.

Intervener Certification/Credentialing (Rec. 5)

At the request of OSEP, and consistent with NCDB’s Intervener Services Recommendation (NCDB, 2012a) to “expand opportunities for interveners to obtain a state or national certificate or credential,” NCDB, in partnership with the National Deaf-Blind TA Network, is developing a National Intervener Certificate for individuals who can currently demonstrate competencies as interveners in educational settings. For more information about this certificate see this blog post from November 19, 2014: Development of a New National Intervener Certificate 

The development group for the certificate met in Portland for two days this past January.

If you have additional questions, contact Amy Parker at

Family Training (Rec. 8)

In March 2014 the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) joined forces to sponsor an online parent training course on the topic of intervener services. The course uses Module 3 (“The Role of Interveners in Educational Settings”) from the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules.  Currently a 4th cohort of parents and other family members is participating in the course.

The course uses a self-study format, but has hosts (Patti McGowan from NFADB and Peggy Malloy from NCDB) who provide support and encouragement.  We also offer three online web conferences for participants’ to ask questions and share experiences.  For more information, contact Patti McGowan ( or Peggy Malloy (

The goals of this project are as follows:

1.  Strengthen the partnership between NFADB and NCDB by working together on a common goal.

2.  Evaluate the usefulness of the Module 3 of the OHOA Modules as a training tool for parents and determine possible modifications.

3.  Build a resource for promoting NFADB membership, fundraising, and affiliate program.

4.  Cultivate parent leaders and participants in the implementation of the Recommendations for Improving Intervener Services.

5.  Build the capacity of NFADB to deliver online training.

NCDB will be partnering with NFADB to work on other intervener services initiative activities in the coming years.  

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Thanks, Kathy!

Peggy Malloy

Posted Jul 15, 2014 by Peggy Malloy

Great update Peggy. Thanks for sharing. When the recommendations first came out I wondered how was anyone going to tackle all of this but the progress has been amazing. This is a very impressive body of work with great significance for our Network.

Kathy McNulty

Posted Jul 15, 2014 by Kathy McNulty

NCDB : The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
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