The North Dakota Dual Sensory Project
What is the North Dakota Dual Sensory Project?
The North Dakota Dual Sensory Project is funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education. The mission of the Project is help state educational agencies (SEAs), local education agencies (LEAs), Part C lead agencies, early intervention service providers, teachers, service providers, and families address the educational, related services, transitional, and early intervention needs of children who are Deaf-Blind to ensure that these children will graduate from high school ready for competitive employment, postsecondary education or independent living options.
The North Dakota Dual Sensory Project will address the priorities of providing training and information for professionals and families; improving educational outcomes for children who are Deaf-Blind; implementing the OSEP Technical Assistance conceptual model; utilizing evidence-based practices; and providing services of high quality, intensity, and duration through collaboration with the National Center for Deaf-Blindness.
The four goals established for this grant are to:
- Promote early and appropriate identification of all individuals who are Deaf-Blind through the Outreach and Referral process,
- Establish a high quality approach to Technical Assistance delivery for each student who is Deaf-Blind and their families;
- Implement universal, targeted, and intensive Technical Assistance to early interventionists, school staff, or community/medical staff who provide services for children who are Deaf-Blind, and
- Increase productive partnerships between families and service providers and to support family advocacy efforts for those families who have a child who is Deaf-Blind.
The project maintains a lending library of materials on Deaf-Blindness including videos, books, and assessment tools, located at ND Vision Services/School for the Blind. All materials are provided for loan at no cost to North Dakota families, teachers, and service providers of children and youth who are on the Deaf-Blind census.
National data indicates that the State Deaf-Blind projects have consistently reported approximately 10,000 children and youth with Deaf-Blindness since 1995. Hearing and vision are the primary senses through which we learn and gather information. Hearing is the basis of communication and 80% of what we learn is through our vision.
Hearing and vision are the primary senses through which we learn and gather information . Hearing is the basis of communication and 80% of what we learn is through our vision. For students to be eligible to receive services through the Project, they must meet the IDEA 2004 federal definition of Deaf-Blindness (Dual Sensory Impairment) published in the final Part B regulations which states:
"Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and vision impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness" (Section 300.8 © (2)).
For infants and toddlers receiving Part C early intervention services, Deaf-Blindness is defined as:
"Concomitant hearing and vision impairments, or delays, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and intervention needs that specialized early intervention services are needed" (Killoran, 2007).
Deaf-Blindness has a tremendous impact on a child's ability to understand and interact within their physical and social environments. Lack of access to auditory and visual information for children with Deaf-Blindness impacts all areas of development. In addition to Deaf-Blindness, over 90% of the children who are on the Census have one or more additional disabilities. Thus, the population of children who are Deaf-Blind is a diverse group with a broad continuum of needs and learning styles. Therefore, the delivery of appropriate services and intervention requires not only a knowledge of the impact of Deaf-Blindness on the child's development, unique needs and learning styles, but also the need for effective instruction, accommodations, and assistive technology that incorporates strategies in recognition of the child's Deaf-Blindness.
This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.