Transitioning from ECI to ECSE with a Student who is Deafblind / Education of Students who are Deafblind in the Western Hemisphere

Day 6 – March 8, 2021

Transitioning from Early Childhood Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education with a Student who is Deafblind

Elaine Robertson, M.S., Instructional Officer for Deaf Education, Vision, and Assistive Technology; Kittrell R. Antalon, M.Ed., COMS and TVI; Carolyn J. Samson, M.Ed., COMS and TVI; Jennifer Magee, M.S., TDHH and Educational Diagnostician; and Diana Martinez Oviedo, Parent, Katy, TX

This team supports, Oliver, a student who is deafblind. Today’s presentation focused on their experience in helping him to transition from Early Childhood Interventoin to ECSE. CI is part of the Katy ISD school district. Transition for a student who is deafblind from ECI and ECSE is often difficult for student and family because no one has experience working with a deafblind student.

Katy ISD participated in the TDB pilot through Texas Deafblind Project. They had a TDB and an establish relationship with the Texas Deafblind Project. Katy wanted to focus on a student making this transition to clarify their process and build a successful model that could be used for future students.

It is essential that an administrator be a part of any team to ensure that training, resources and support is provided to the team, the student, and the family.

Some of the staff TVI and TDHH, served him prior to transition while he was in ECI. There was a lack of expertise among staff and lack of training for the staff. So when he was about to enter kindergarten, Texas Deafblind Outreach consultants were invited in to help develop a program. We say a lot of growth in the student and also in the entire team as we had more training about deafblindness.

The team joined the TDB Pilot. Oliver became their focus during the pilot. He turned 3 in March 2020,. He has mod-seve to profound hearing impaired and a cochlear implanet. Cogenital catatracts and glaucoma.

Orientation and Mobility

The COMS, Kittrell Antallon, TDH, TVI, Interpreter, Student and Parent.

45 min – week communication

45 min month – VI and O&M to collaborate and assess needs


  1. Reach, grasp, tolerating interactions,
  2. Tactile and sensory activities
  3. Following his lead
  4. Giving more wait time and time for exploring

Determine likes and dislikes and collaborated with team to determine his Likes and Dislikes. Oliver needed more opportunities to initiate and to lead his lessons which lead to more meaningful communication from Oliver. This included greeting rituals and time to attach with instructors. Object symbols and tactile cues were used in the lessons.

TVI/ TDB goals: Familiarize ourselves with Oliver and family during final months of ECI

Provided the new team members fundamental knowledge in d bed;cuation before they began working and assessing the students.

They began months before the transition occurred to get to know Oliver, his family and gather videos, documents, powerpoint to use with the new team.

PT, OT, TVI, Classroom teacher collaborated to develop goals with infused skills.


Assessments that Katy ISD has used with assessments for Oliver:


  • Cottage Acquisition Scales for Listening, Language, and Speech: Pre-Verbal Level
  • Hawaii Early Learning Profile
  • SKI*HI Language Developmental Scale
  • INSITE Developmental Checklist
  • Informal Functional Hearing Evaluation


  • Expanded Core Curriculum Needs Screening Tool
  • Oregon Project Skills Inventory
  • Functional Scheme Assessment


  • Multi-sensory Impaired Unit Curriculum
  • Communication Matrix

Assessment is done by the team and goals are developed by the team.

Unique roles and responsibility of TDB

  • TDB understands the impact of the combined vision and hearing loss and can help the team program and provide team training.
  • Need to assess and evaluate using a collaborative model.
  • Know and apply the state and federal criteria for deafblind eligibility.
  • Write IEP paperwork based on meaningful data to support, state, and develop PLAFFP, Goals/Objectives, etc.
  • Provide direct instruction by addressing their needs for access to their environment, communication, and learning
  • Lead educate, support, and collaborate with the educational team
  • Respect the culture and language of the student’s family
  • Value knowledge expertise of team members
  • Maintain current professional knowledge and skills through professional training organizations networking, and education
  • Register students who are deafblind with your state Deafblind Child Count
  • Monitor and record the student’s progress and the effectiveness of strategies and accommodations
  • Educate the administrators on the unique needs of students who are deafblind and best practices

Mom, Diana Martinez

Diana introduced herself and told us about his two siblings and that they live in Katy.

First thoughts when receiving diagnosis: We didn’t think we could support a child with so many needs. But now we are making connections so that we know we can do this.

It was a little different when he was in ECI, but we are now using specific techniques tied to his specific disabilities. WE are seeing him make progress.

Many changes, even simple ones, for Oliver are great achievements. The strategies we learned from TDB made the difference.

They always provide me with an interpreter and are anxious to learn about our family transitions.

My advice is to never be afraid of change. Better things always come with change and the teachers are prepared to help you.

Then we saw a video of Mom and Oliver reading a book. Oliver enjoyed exploring the books with his hands.

Meeting Team Needs

Tips for working with the student

  • Wait time
  • Follow the student’s lead
  • Greeting/Goodbye routine
  • Consistency
  • Incorporate student likes and dislikes
  • Observe student
  • Multisensory activities

Tips for the team

  • DB training
  • Maintain a shared folder with videos, likes/dislikes, routines, etc.
  • Monthly team meetings
  • Shared goals
  • Provide combined services as TVI, TDHH, O&M, Sp.-Lang. Therapist, etc.

Education of Students who are Deafblind in the Western Hemisphere

Carolyn Monaco, Canadian Deaf-Blind Association; Gloria Rodriguez-Gil, and Maria Vasquez, Perkins International

A dedicated professional for deafblind is new to Texas. Do you have recognized special personnel for deafblind and if not who is providing specific services?

Maria Rodriguez-Gil: TDB and professor in the University and consultant for Perkins International. Research impact of DB training on the student and teacher. In Latin America we have teachers that work in special and regular school or therapy center. Our teachers have diverse specialization, but communication and instruction in general curriculum are big questions. There are a range of resources and needs depending on where the student is served. Some are in segregated setitngs and others are fully included.

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: We don’t have interveners per se in Latin or South America. Some people are being certified as interveners in Brazil.

Caroline Monaco: We do have specialized teacher of deafblind and intervenors and have had them for many years. I think in the early years we worked very hard to help others see deafblindness as a very unique disabilities and so we need staff to implement the unique program.

Adam: I enjoyed watching your Asynchronous presentations on the work you are doing in Central and South America. I would like you to talk about where research is coming from andwhat we can do to promote more research on deafblind.

Gloria: We are working with the governments in choosing programs that have the potential of becoming model programs using the Perkins program evaluation. Then we provide training. We also have Perkins International Academy to provide training to schools.

Mary: We get a commitment from the schools to participate. Before the pandemic, we took data from the teacher. Now we have two meetings where the teacher shares expectations about her program. The level of commitment is very high among those participating. We are not only training teachers, principals, Secretary of education, and families. Problem is when teacher move from one place to another. We want change in the classroom, but we also want to change larger systems.

Adam: The way you describe having to educate everyone from the family and teacher up through the secretary of education. We are finding in our TDB pilot that we have similar approach. I want to direct the next question to Carolyn. How do your consituents get service.

Carolyn: In the past we had to work very hard to get services for deafblind. Most of the services here in Canada can be made by anyone. We work to insure that programs and hospitals know about services beginning for children at the earliest possible time. I think now there is just an increase in awareness of services.

Adam: What are some of the services?

Carolyn: In Ontario, we have DB resource and outreach services at Ross MacDonald school so there are specialized teachers to work throughout the province. This occurs in other programs in Canada, though not all have preschool services for deafblind. In addition to the program at W. Ross MacDonald school have db programs. In other schools we have programs that include intervenors and specialists that can support deafblind specific supports and strategies.

Gloria: We are talking about 19 countries in Central and South America. so there is a lot of variety in programs and support. Perkins International’s goal is to teacher as many teachers as we can though we are developing model programs to help now.

Maria: One thing is that we need one person to become the leader with the team we are working with who will think about the future, how to share academy content with others, etc.

Gloria: We call it education leadership academy so we develop leadership to serve as the anchors in our country. WE see leaders coming out of these teams that will take deafblind education into the future.

Carolyn: Along with what you are saying, I think training is so key because the strategies work. Success speaks for itself and it is hard to argue with success.

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: There are so many people who care for the children, but they don’t know what to do for a deafblind student. The answer is to give them training. That’s what is needed! I was a teacher and I remember my first deafblind students and I didn’t know what to do.

Carolyn: The strategies are not intuitive.

Maria Rodriguez-Gil: Training is so important.

Adam Graves: You are hitting right at the heart of the Symposium which is all about training and leadership. You are emphasizing how important it is to have leaders. In Texas we are just starting out to get TDB certification. To people that want to become leaders, what can they do to move into that role? Is there a universal approach to seeking out training and opportunities for leadership? What should our expectation of our leaders be?

Carolyn Monaco: They need to be supportive, but need to understand the needs of students who are deafblind. If they don’t understand the impact of the disabilities, they cannot provide the support needed.

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: I agree. I think people need to see some models. They need to see how it looks. For example, we have teams in Latin America that are models and the anchor to see what is possible with similar resources.

David Wiley: In visiting with you Carolyn, you shared about who the students are that are coming into your program.  How do we recruit, what do you look for?

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: We get some of ours from model programs that we have been following for several years. We see their potential, interest, and drive.

Carolyn Monaco: At George Brown we see the spectrum from high school grads to older individuals who are making career changes. When we see someone who has real passion, we know they will do well. When you see folks with long-term careers in deafblindness they are very passionate about what they do.

Maria Rodriguez-Gil: When the teacher or intervener sees just one bit of progress then the principal and others conviction grows.

Participant Question: How would a teacher participate in the Perkins Academy program?

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: She would need to contact the Director of Brazil.

If someone wanted to participate in helping with training in Latin America, she can contact Gloria Rodriguez-Gil.

Participant Question: I am curious about family interest and passion, is that helping to drive programs and changes?

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: Yes, we have very strong parent leaders, especially mothers. They are the force driving education in their countries. Mothers training mothers and professionals both.

Carolyn Monaco: In Canada, parents were the driving forces in attaining the services we have today.

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil: Historically parents are important in training. I think this Symposium is the symbol of their collaboration. Hopefully in the future we can always have a component that is virtual, because people are desperate for information and connections.

Carolyn Monaco: Basically, if nothing has come out of this year, we have been forced to collaborate in ways we never have before. Hopefully we will take these lessions into the future. Deafblind students, where ever they live have the same needs and challenges. I think it is more similar than different.

Maria Vazquez: Research is not for the researcher but to learn to document and make sure that we know and use best practices.


Welcome, State of the State, Nation, World, Teacher of Deafblind

March 1, 2021 – Kickoff Day for the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education

Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education Join Us On Social Media #TXSympo2021

Yesterday, March 1, 2021, saw the kickoff of the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education. What a terrific start it was. We had representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Spain, The United Kingdom, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands, not to mention from across the United States. It was great to get updates on the state of deafblind education from the perspective of family members and professionals working in various locations around the world. Today, we move into “inner space” with a presentation by Dr. Judy Cameron from the Center on the Developing Child Harvard University talking about the impact of stress and building resiliency. This is something we all need to know more about in a world struggling from the impact of COVID 19. Can’t wait to hear what she has to share.

Simposio sobre Educación de Sordociegos de Texas

Proporcionar la instrucción adecuada para cualquier estudiante SordoCiego es un desafío, ya que las necesidades de acceso de cada estudiante son verdaderamente únicas. El Simposio de este año profundizará para examinar por qué los estudiantes en Texas necesitan acceso a maestros capacitados de estudiantes SordoCiegos e interventores. Únase a nosotros mientras exploramos los problemas y las respuestas para brindar una programación de calidad para estas personas y apoyo a los equipos educativos, incluidas las familias y el personal escolar.

Colaboración Internacional

COVID nos ha obligado a hacer este evento “virtual”, y eso nos ha permitido asociarnos con La Red Internacional de las Américas de SordoCiegos por sus siglas en inglés (DbI) y la Asociación Nacional de Familias de Sordo ciegos, por sus siglas en inglés (NFADB). Esto nos ha dado la oportunidad de incluir el Centro Nacional de SordoCeguera, la Asociación Nacional Canadiense de SordoCeguera, Perkins International y otras organizaciones de varios lugares del hemisferio occidental para hacer de este un evento internacional. Esta colaboración promete hacer del Simposio de este año un evento verdaderamente espectacular. Como dijo una vez Helen Keller: “Solos podemos hacer tan poco; juntos podemos hacer mucho.”

Más de 20 horas de enseñanza

Los participantes registrados tendrán la oportunidad de acceder a más de 20 horas de contenido durante los meses de marzo y abril. Los principales eventos en vivo del Simposio se llevarán a cabo del 1 al 4 y 6 de marzo con tres eventos adicionales “Lunes de Locura de Marzo” el 8, 22 y 29 de marzo. Como parte de nuestra asociación con la Asociación Nacional de Familias de SordoCiegos (NFADB) y Deafblind International (DbI) Network of the Americas, estamos entusiasmados de tener líderes familiares de todas las Américas que sean anfitrión de un evento familiar especial el sábado 6 de marzo. El Simposio de este año presenta opciones de capacitación sincrónicas y asincrónicas, y archivaremos los eventos de capacitación en vivo para que nuestros participantes registrados puedan verlos más tarde. Durante las partes “en vivo”, los participantes tienen la oportunidad de escuchar a nuestros presentadores y conversar con ellos en Zoom.