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Teacher Preparation Programs: Deaf-Blindness

Interveners and Qualified Personnel

Teacher Preparation Programs: Deaf-Blindness

Interveners and Qualified Personnel

This page was last updated on May 28, 2019 at 11:45 am

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This list covers university teacher preparation programs (at the undergraduate and graduate levels) that include significant content in deaf-blindness. 

The DB content field specifies whether the university has courses specific to deaf-blindness or integrates content about deaf-blind learners into other special education courses. The Format field specifies whether the program is online, on campus, or a combination (hybrid).

Please note that this list is not comprehensive. In addition, programs change frequently, so contact the programs themselves for the most up-to-date information.

Updated March 2019


ARIZONA

University of Arizona

Degree or certificate: Master of Arts in Special Education with a specialization in Severe and Multiple Disabilities, which includes a concentration in deaf-blindness and autism spectrum disorders.

Contact: Stephanie MacFarland, 520-621-5165, szm@email.arizona.edu

Website: M.A. in Severe and Multiple Disabilities

DB content: Heavily integrated into required core coursework in severe and multiple disabilities and practicums when a student is on the deaf-blind concentration track.

Format: On-campus late afternoon courses as well as online and hybrid courses.

Fieldwork requirement? Three required supervised fieldwork semesters out of four semesters of the traditional 2-year master's program. Two practica and one full-time student teaching internship (an externship can be planned for out-of-state internships).

CALIFORNIA

San Francisco State University

Degree or certificate: Moderate/Severe Disabilities (credential)

Contact 1: Pam Hunt, 415-338-7848, hunt@sfsu.edu

Contact 2: Julie Maier, 415-405-7559, jmaier@sfsu.edu

Website: Department of Special Education

DB content: Core methods courses in the education of students with moderate to severe disabilities. Content on instruction for learners with deaf-blindness infused throughout the 4 core methods courses and 3 sessions dedicated to assessment, instruction, and curricular issues related to learners with deaf-blindness.

Format: On campus

COLORADO

University of Northern Colorado

Degree or certificate:

  • Master of Arts in Special Education: Visual Impairment
  • Master of Arts in Special Education: Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Contact (VI): Silvia Correa-Torres, 970-351-1660, Silvia.correa-Torres@unco.edu

Contact (DHH): Sandy Bowen, 970-351-2102, Sandy.bowen@unco.edu

Website:

DB content: Integrated. One deaf-blind-specific course (Intro to Visual Impairment and Deaf-Blindness). 

Format: All online 

Fieldwork requirement? Yes 

Notes: University also offers an endorsement in Orientation and Mobility.

FLORIDA

Florida State University

Degree or certificate:

  • Combined Junior/Senior/Master’s Degree Program—leads to a Bachelor of Science in Visual Disabilities Education and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Visual Disabilities (certification track). This combined degree program leads to eligibility for teacher certification for students who do not already have teacher certification, and leads the student to obtain a Teaching License from any state that requires teachers complete a state-approved program. Students may add additional courses that lead to eligibility to sit for the ACVREP exam in orientation and mobility. Students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree may participate in this program as well.
  • Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Visual Disabilities (non-certification track). This degree is not a Teacher Certification program, and is intended for students who already have teacher certification or who would like to take coursework in Orientation & Mobility. Students who choose to take coursework in this area may apply to the Florida DOE for an endorsement in this area after degree conferral. However, O&M is not a state-approved educator preparation program offered through FSU.

Contact 1: Eileen Bischof, bischof@fsu.edu

Contact 2: Sarah Ivy, sivy@fsu.edu

Website: Visual Disabilities Education 

DB content: Three courses with deaf-blind content integrated within the combined junior/senior/master’s degree program (Methods for Learners with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities I, Methods for Learners with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities II, and Advanced Methods for Learners with Visual Impairment and High Intensity Needs).

Format: Face-to-face classes are required to complete the graduate degree.

Fieldwork requirement? There is a 20-hour practicum required for both Methods for Learners with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities I and II.  The practicum for the Advanced Methods for Learners with Visual Impairment and High Intensity Needs is 40 hours. These practica occur at a center-based school for students with multiple/severe disabilities, some of whom have deaf-blindness. Students may request to be paired with a student with deaf-blindness. Students may also request a student teaching placement in a school/classroom serving students with deaf-blindness anywhere in the country, provided they can find housing in the area of the school.

ILLINOIS

Illinois State University

Degree or certificate:

  • Bachelor of Science in Education, Specialist in Low Vision and Blindness, PreK-12
  • Early Intervention Vision Specialist Graduate Certificate

Contact: Mindy Ely, msely@ilstu.edu

Website:

DB content: Integrated. One deaf-blind-specific course as part of graduate certificate (Impact of Additional Disabilities/Deafblindness on the Development of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired).

Format: Hybrid

Fieldwork requirement? Yes

Notes: The Open Hands, Open Access: Deaf-Blind Intervener Modules are infused into courses to provide the most current and up-to-date information about deaf-blindness. During Senior Year, LVB majors spend two days at the Phillip Rock Center and School for the Deafblind in Glen Ellyn, IL. There students have the opportunity to observe, interact, and receive professional development.

MASSACHUSETTS

Boston College

Degree or certificate: M.Ed., Teacher of Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities. Optional Specialization in Deafblindness.

Contact: Susan Bruce, 617-552-4239, Susan.bruce@bc.edu

Website: Lynch School of Education and Human Development 

DB content: Content in deaf-blindness is embedded into five courses within the Severe and Multiple Disabilities. Those taking the optional Deafblind Specialization will also complete a sign language course, a braille course (taken elsewhere and applied to the program), a language acquisition module, and Deafblind Seminar. They will complete a full practicum in a classroom that includes students who are deaf-blind.

Format: On campus evening course model combined with summer course offerings.

Fieldwork requirement? Pre-practicum and full practicum required.

Notes: Massachusetts does not offer a teaching licensure in deaf-blindness. The program coordinator writes a letter confirming completion of the program and specialization. Graduates also list the specialization on their resumes.

NEBRASKA

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Degree or certificate:

  • Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities
  • Master’s Degree in Special Education with a Specialization in Visual Impairments

Contact: Dr. Mackenzie Savaiano, 402-472-3801, msavaiano2@unl.edu

Website: Special Education and Communication Disorders

DB content: Integrated throughout VI courses. One course in instructional methods for students with severe disabilities. One deafblind-specific course (Deafblind Institute) offered in partnership with the Nebraska Deafblind Project.

Format: Hybrid—most courses are provided via distance education technology, but there are in-person requirements during the summer.

Fieldwork requirement? Yes

Notes: NE Rules/Regulations (Rule 24) for Teacher Preparation programs (IHEs) requires deafblindness be included in content for personnel prep for deafness and blindness.

NEW YORK

Hunter College, City University of New York

Degree or certificate:

  • Masters in Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education
  • Annotation in Severe/Multiple Disabilities including Deaf-Blindness
  • Advanced Certificate in Severe/Multiple Disabilities including Deaf-Blindness
  • Master’s in Blindness/Visual Impairment (TVI Certificate)
  • Teacher of Blind/Visually Impaired Advanced Certificate
  • Orientation and Mobility Advanced Certificate
  • Masters in Vision Rehabilitation Teaching (VRT)

Contact: Beth Brady, LBrady@hunter.cuny.edu

Website: School of Education- Blind and Visually Impaired

DB content: Integrated into all Severe/Multiple Disabilities and TVI courses. One deafblind-specific course (SPED746: Educational Implications of Deaf-Blindness) required for all Severe/Multiple Disabilities programs and for the Blindness/Visual Impairment Master’s program (not required for the Advanced Certificate Program in Blindness/Visual Impairment). SPED746 provides a comprehensive overview of deaf-blindness, including communication development and assessment, modalities of communication, diversity of the population, interveners and collaborative teaming, transition, early intervention, stress and behavior, curriculum adaptations, and instructional modifications.

Format: TVI Master’s program and Severe/Multiple Disabilities programs are on campus only. TVI Advanced Certificate program can be taken on campus or via distance learning.

Fieldwork requirement? 10 hours of field observation are required for every 3-credit course; two semesters of student teaching/practicum are required for all Master’s programs. One semester of student teaching/practicum is required for both advanced certificate programs. SPED746 requires students to conduct field observation of a learner who is deaf-Blind and to develop a comprehensive, holistic, student-centered, communication plan integrating relevant areas of assessment and instructional strategies.

NORTH CAROLINA

East Carolina University

Degree or certificate: Graduate Certificate in Deafblindness

Contact: Dr. Sandra Warren, warrens@ecu.edu

Website: College of Education- Special Education

DB content: Five deafblind-specific courses (Characteristics, Issues, and Trends in Education of Students with Deafblindness; Essentials of Communication Development for Students with Deafblindness; Assessment and Educational Program Design for Students with Deafblindness; Effective Teaching and Learning for Students with Deafblindness; and Internship with Students with Deafblindness).

Format: All online

Fieldwork requirement? Individually designed internships.

Notes: Graduate Certificate Program in Deafblindness is open to anyone with a Bachelor’s degree. Admission is through the Graduate School and requires an application and transcripts.

PENNSYLVANIA

Kutztown University

Degree or certificate:

  • Bachelor’s in Education: Teacher of the Visually Impaired Specialty
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired Graduate Certificate

Contact: Nicole Johnson, njohnson@kutztown.edu

Website: Visual Impairment Program

DB content: Integrated into all the TVI coursework.

Format: Undergraduate program is on campus. Graduate certificate is online/hybrid.

Fieldwork requirement? Undergraduate requires hours throughout TVI coursework and an 8-week student teaching placement with a certified teacher of the blind and visually impaired. The graduate certification requires observations built into coursework and an internship with a certified teacher of the blind and visually impaired. 

Notes: Students have multiple opportunities to work in various areas that include working with students with deafblindness, multiple disabilities, low vision, etc. Students are given experience both at schools for the blind and in itinerant settings.


University of Pittsburgh

Degree or certificate:

  • Teacher of students with visual impairment graduate-level certificate or master’s degree
  • Orientation and mobility graduate-level certificate or master’s degree

Contact: Tessa McCarthy, 412-648-7308, tessam@pitt.edu

Website: Vision Studies

DB content: Integrated.

Format: Mostly online; some on-campus instruction required.

Fieldwork requirement? Yes

Notes: Graduates would benefit from additional, focused coursework if they wanted to work specifically with students who are deafblind. 

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island College

Degree or certificate:

  • B.S. in Special Education with a concentration in Severe Intellectual Disabilities. Students in this program must have a prior or concurrent program in either Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, or Secondary Education.
  • M.Ed. in Severe Intellectual Disabilities. Graduate students in this program must have a current teaching certification in either Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, or Secondary Education.
  • Certificate of Graduate Studies in Severe Intellectual Disabilities. Graduate students in this program must have a current teaching certification in a general education “base” (Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, or Secondary Education) and a current teaching certification in Mild/Moderate Special Education.

Contact: Sue Dell, 401-456-8557, sdell@ric.edu

Website:

DB content: Integrated

Format: Hybrid—face-to-face coursework combined with online modules infused within applicable courses.

Fieldwork requirement? All courses within the field of Special Education have some level of fieldwork ranging from 5 to 30 hours. Each program requires a minimum of a 12-week full-time placement in a setting that supports students with complex disabilities.

TENNESSEE

Vanderbilt University

Degree or certificate: Master of Science in Education of the Deaf (leading to Special Education Hearing Pre-K-12 Tennessee endorsement)

Contact: P. Lynn Hayes, 615-936-2786, Lynn.hayes@vanderbilt.edu

Website: Hearing and Speech Sciences

DB content: Five weekend seminars on deaf-blindness (Introduction to Deaf-Blindness, Orientation and Mobility, Communication, Adaptive Behavior, Language & Literacy). Also integrated into VI courses and D/HH courses.

Format: On campus

Fieldwork requirement? 250 hours of practicum in the 1-year version of the program (for students with background in deaf education); 350 hours in the 2-year version.

TEXAS

Texas Tech University

Degree or certificate:

  • M.Ed. in Special Education with a specialization in Dual Sensory Impairment (Deafblindness)
  • Graduate Certificate in Dual Sensory Impairment (Deafblindness)

Contact: Phoebe Okungu, 806-834-0286, phoebe.okungu@ttu.edu

Website: Special Education- Deafblindness 

DB content: Five deafblind-specific courses (Anatomy and Function of the Visual System, Programs and Services for Students with Deafblindness, Strategies for Students with Multiple Disabilities and Visual Impairments or Deafblindness, Communication for Individuals with Deafblindness, and Anatomy and Functions of the Auditory System for Students with Deafblindness).

Format: M.Ed. program is comprised of ten online courses and two hybrid courses as well as a comprehensive project. Two of the courses are internships. Graduate certificate is comprised of four online courses and one hybrid course. (Hybrid courses are online with a weekend face-to-face class in Lubbock, TX.)

Fieldwork requirement? Yes

UTAH

University of Utah

Degree or certificate: Endorsement in Deafblind Education. Master of Education or Master of Science degree may be obtained concurrently. [Endorsement in Deafblind Education must be attached to another Special Education licensure.]

Contact: Cathy Nelson, 801-585-3260, Cathy.nelson@utah.edu

Website: Department of Special Education

DB content: Three deafblind-specific courses (Teaching Children Who Are Deafblind, Advanced Assessment and Instructional Design for Learners Who Are Deafblind, and Fundamentals of Orientation and Mobility for Teachers of Children Who Are Blind/Visually Impaired and Deafblind). Content also integrated into other special education courses.

Format: On campus

Fieldwork requirement? Two semesters of fieldwork required. The first semester is Field Studies; the second is Student Teaching.

Notes: The program at the University of Utah is approved for endorsement in deafblind education issued by the Utah State Office of Education. The program of study is 35-credit hours, including practicum hours. In addition to the deafblind-specific courses listed above, coursework in ASL, braille, ocular disorders, audiology, and severe disabilities is included in the program. In Utah, the deafblind endorsement must be attached to existing licensure in special education. Students seeking a master’s degree also take a 9-credit-hour advanced graduate course. Currently, have a federal grant that provides tuition support to select students.



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2 Comments

This is not an odd question, Krista. I’m hoping others in our network will respond with their thoughts on the pros and cons of categorizing yourself as a Teacher of Students with Deaf-Blindness in a state that does not yet offer certification and for the most part does not yet recognize the role.

First of all, I’m thankful there are personnel prep programs that made the decision to cover the CEC deaf-blind competencies for teachers, even though most state departments of education have yet to offer an opportunity for certification. Advocacy is well underway at the national and at the state level for recognition of the role but only a handful of states have this certification of Teachers of Students who are Deaf-Blind so far.

Many of these personnel prep programs have course titles that include deaf-blindness and some outline how deaf-blindness is covered in course descriptions or use the term deaf-blind/deaf-blindness in the degree title. At the moment, I lean towards recommending that you use the wording that was used by your program of study when you are in a state that does not yet offer certification. In this way you are part of the necessary advocacy in your state that all children who are deaf-blind have trained personnel who demonstrate the CEC deaf-blind competencies, but you are not using a title that is yet to be recognized.

I definitely wish every state in the nation recognized the need for and role of Teachers of Students with Deaf-Blindness and offered certification. In the meantime, people who have your training (sounds like 3 of you in SC) are the resource for SC students and you are indeed the people parents want in place for their children – teachers who have been specifically trained to work with students who are deaf-blind – whether you have the title or not.

Linda McDowell

Posted Aug 15, 2017 by Linda McDowell

Quick odd question. I just checked this out and I have the FSU credentials and coursework from this description. However, I have never been considered a Teacher of Students with Deaf-Blindness. I don't believe there is an added certificate in SC, and therefore have never categorized myself this way. Should I be? I know there are parents looking for that resource in this state and we only know of 2 people in SC who use this title. I already serve as this resource in the state without the title. Should I be considering myself part of that number?

Krista-Leigh Olsen

Posted Aug 8, 2017 by Krista-Leigh Olsen

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