Deaf-Blind Model Classroom

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The Literacy & Communication Model Demonstration Classroom Project for Students with Deaf-Blindness

A project funded by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina Deafblind Project

Definition of Deaf-Blindness

Often when we hear the term "deaf-blindness," the story of Helen Keller comes to mind. While she was deaf-blind, this severity of hearing and vision loss is NOT necessary in order to be considered as deaf-blind. The Federal Registry uses the following definition:
"Determination of deaf-blind children.  As used in this part, the term 'deaf-blind children' means children who have auditory and vision disabilities, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational difficulties that they cannot properly be accommodated in special education programs solely for the deaf or blind child."  Federal Registry, Volume 40, No. 35, February 20, 1075, Section 121c.37(a)

Certification of Deaf-Blindness and Available Services

In order to be registered on the Deaf-Blind Census, students must be certified as having a vision impairment and a hearing impairment of varying degree. Reports from doctors, teachers of the hearing impaired, teachers of the visually impaired, other related service providers, and/or classroom teacher reports can be used to document dual sensory impairments. After students are identified on the state Deaf-Blind census, the Exceptional Children's Department can offer special services to students, parents and educators, such as technical assistance, consultation, and inservice trainings. Two forms need to be completed, along with the appropriate documentation, and returned to Chris Jones, State DB Project Director at the Department of Public Instruction: the Student Information Form and the Deaf-Blind Certification Form.

The Model Classrooms Supporting Students Deaf-Blindness

By working directly with selected school sites and individual students, the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies is working to identify and implement exemplary practices in literacy and communication for students who have been identified with deaf-blindness. Model sites are located in 4 different counties in the state. In addition, the project staff at the CLDS provides training and support through a variety of mechanisms.

Student Case Studies

As part of the project, case studies are being developed to support educational teams and families in their efforts to address the literacy and communication needs of individuals with severe disabilities, including deaf-blindness. The following case studies are currently available:
To follow the case of Jake, click here.
To follow the case of Matthew, click here.

Downloadable Teaching Resources for Students with Multiple Disabilities, Including Deaf-Blindness

Another component of the project involves the development of instructional materials and resources designed to support the implementation of successful practices throughout North Carolina and beyond. These downloadable resources include specific directions for implementing the core instructional activities developed in the model sites, as well as directions for creating specific materials to support successful communication and literacy development.  To learn more about the resources available, go to the downloadable classroom resources page.

For more information about the project, contact Gretchen Hanser, Project Director.