Resources and References

Recommended Resources for Further Exploration

A Curriculum for Multi-sensory-impaired Children (the MSI Curriculum)

From the Sense organization in the United Kingdom, this curriculum addresses the particular learning needs of students with multi-sensory impairments including deafblindness. The curriculum addresses social relationship and emotional development, communication, conceptual development, sensory response, understanding time and place, orientation, movement and mobility, ownership of learning and responses to routines.  The curriculum is available for free download at the following website:

Active Learning Space

A website created by the Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Perkins School for the Blind and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The site explores Dr. Lilli Nielsen’s Five Phases for Educational Treatment for engaging the child and also emphasizes simple ways to change the environment so that a child becomes an “active learner”.

Child Guided Strategies: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment

Written by Cathy Nelson, Teresa Oster, Andrea McDonald and Jan van Dijk. This easy-to-use guidebook/manual describes step-by-step the Child-Guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment. The manual comes with 2 DVDs.  One is a demonstration DVD which shows the assessment of 3 children (a baby, a young child, and a teenager) with multiple sensory impairments. The other DVD contains the Guidebook and the electronic forms, which are used in the assessment. The Van Dijk assessment is unique as it follows the lead of the individual learner. 

Communication and Congenital Deafblindness

Written by Inger Rodbroe and Marleen Janssen, this publication consists of four booklets that provide support and inspire individuals and teams that work with people who are deafblind. A companion DVD is included with each booklet to illustrate major concepts. The booklets based on the work of Deafblind International’s Communication Network includes: 1. Congenital deafblindness and the Core Principles of Intervention, 2. Contact and Social Interaction, 3. Meaning Making, 4. Transition to Cultural Language. Available through Amazon and other online stores.

The Communication Matrix

The Communication Matrix is a free on-line assessment tool created to help families and professionals easily understand the communication status, progress, and unique needs of anyone functioning at the early stages of communication or using forms of communication other than speaking or writing. 

Determining the Need for an Intervener in Educational Settings

Developed by the Texas Deafblind Project. This document is designed to help the IEP team to determine whether an intervener is an appropriate support for an individual student who is deafblind in a school setting.  It is a guideline for discussion about all supports needed to provide the student full access to the educational experience based on: 1) individual student assessment; and 2) consideration of the existing and/or proposed services for the student.

IEP Quality Indicators for Students with Deafblindness

Developed by the Texas Deafblind Project. This document is designed to help educational teams develop appropriate IEPs for students with deafblindness. The ten content areas that are evaluated include: Etiology, Access to Information, Social Issues, Communication, Calendar System, Behavior, Orientation and Mobility (O&M), Related and Supplemental Services, Transition Planning and A Teaming Process Plan.

Talking the Language of the Hands to the Hands

Written by Barbara Miles, Emma Nelson and Rene Pellerin. An article that asks the reader to take the unique tactile perspective of the child in thinking about how we all gather information, communicate and use language.  Includes 12 steps we can all take to form more meaningful relationships with children with deafblindness while better supporting their communicative and language development.

Podcasts from the 2017 Texas Symposium on Deafblindness

Dr. Judy Cameron is from the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the Harvard Center on Child Development, Pittsburg, PA.  Science tells us that early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. Having responsive relationships with adults, growth-promoting experiences, and healthy environments for all young children helps build sturdy brain architecture and the foundations of resilience. The following key scientific concept areas and their impact on child development are also discussed, toxic stress, serve and return interactions, executive function and self-regulation. Dr. Cameron will discuss the developing brain and what research shows related to the impact of stress on this development.

Dr. Cameron is joined in a panel discussion by Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, Developmental Psychologist, Founder of the organization Connected Baby from Dundee, Scotland, Bernadette van den Tillaart, M.Ed., Deafblind Consultant at the Ohio State School for the Blind, David Brown, Deafblind Consultant from San Francisco and Robbie Blaha, Deafblind Consultant, Texas Deafblind Outreach. This plenary discussion includes information about how Dr. Cameron’s work relates to individuals who are deafblind and what it means for us in interacting with these individuals at school, home and in the community.


Acharya, Sourya and Shukla, Samarth, (2012).  Mirror neurons: Enigma of the metaphysical modular brain. Journal of Natural Science Biology and Medicine. 2012 Jul-Dec; 3(2): 118–124.

Blaha, R. (2001). Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments including deafblindness, TSBVI Publications, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, TX 78756

Cameron, Judy. (2017). The Impact of Stress on Brain Architecture and Resilience., 2017 Texas Symposium on deafblindness, Austin, TX.

Cameron, J., Zeedyk, S., Blaha, R., Brown, D., van den Tillaart, B., (2017). What Harvard Research Means for Children with deafblindness, 2017 Texas Symposium on deafblindness, Austin, TX.

Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychologist Vol 55, No. 1 68-78

Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2008). Self-Determination Theory: A Macrotheory of Human Motivation, Development and Health. Canadian Psychology Vol 49, No. 3, 182-185

Dignan, KC, PhD. (2016). “Chapter 11: Expanded Core Curriculum”, Administrator’s Toolbox, .

MacFarland, Stephanie, (2000). Overview of the van Dijk Curricular Approach. National Center on deafblindness at

Miles, Barbara., Riggio, Marianne. (1999). Remarkable Conversations A Guide to Developing Meaningful Communication with Children and Young Adults Who Are deafblind, Published by Perkins School for the Blind, 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, Massachusetts.

Neilson, L., (1993). Early Learning Step by Step: Children with Vision Impairment and Multiple Disabilities pg 35, 59-60.  SIKON Copenhagen Denmark.

Neilson, L., (2003). Are You Blind? Promotion of the Development in Children Who Are Especially Developmentally Threatened, SIKON Copenhagen Denmark.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2004). Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships, working paper 1. Harvard University Center on the Developing Child.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2015). Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain. Working Paper No. 3

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2010). Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development: Working Paper No, 9.\

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2015). Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience: Working Paper 13.

Schultz, M. (2018). Kersten’s Story Part I TX SenseAbilities Fall/Winter 2018.

Schultz, M. (2019) Kersten’s Story Part II TX SenseAbilites, Spring 2019.

van den Tilliaart, Bernadette, (2001). Model Based Support to Improve Quality of Interaction, 5th Dbl European Conference on deafblindness, 2001, Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands.

Van Dijk, Jan, no date. The Role of the Emotional Brain. Perkins School for the Blind eLearning at

Van Dijk, J. and Nelson, C. (2001). History and Change in the Education of Children Who Are Deaf-Blind Since the Rubella Epidemic of the 1960s: Influence of Methods Developed in the Netherlands, National Center on deafblindness

Zeedyk, S., (2017). Emotional Connection Through Human Health and Happiness, 2017 Texas Symposium on deafblindness, Austin, TX.