Blogs

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We are always interested in hearing ideas from the field, so please contact us if you would like to share your thoughts.

Blog contributors are welcome; please contact Kate Hurst at hurstk@tsbvi.edu or Kaycee Bennett at bennettk@tsbvi.edu to share your blog posts.

April 6, 2021 – Bonus Video from the Symposium

On the final day of the Symposium, a short history of deafblind education since the Rubella Epidemic of the 1960s had to be cut due to time constraints. We wanted to make sure to share this video with you!  

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March 22, 2021 - Maurice Belote, California Deafblind Services Project Coordinator Speaks about Cognitive Closure

Maurice Belote speaking at a podium.

Closure for Individuals who are Deafblind with Other Disabilities

Almost everybody wants and needs closure from spurned lovers to crime victims.

If our professional life does not provide closure readily, we often develop hobbies that provide closure for us such as quilting or woodwork.

Many children who are deafblind operate at high levels of stress, often toxic levels, and may not be available for learning and active engagement. Lack of closure contributes stress.

We all face everyday ambiguities

      • Who are you?
      • What are you doing?
      • Where am I?
      • Why am I here?
      • What’s happening?
      • Where are we going?
      • When will this be over?

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March 8 - Katy ISD Team Speaks about Transition from ECI to ECSE and International Representatives Discuss Education in the Western Hemisphere

Classroom in Latin America
Classroom in Latin America

This team supports, Oliver, a student who is deafblind. Today’s presentation focused on their experience in helping him to transition from Early Childhood Intervention 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.

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March 6, 2021 - Family Day at the Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education

A small child touches the face of his mom while dad looks on.
A small child touches the face of his mom while dad looks on.

It was a busy day for families attending the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education. We welcomed families from six different countries form Canada all the way down to Argentina. There was a presentation by Jacqueline Izaguirre and Melanie Knapp, Texans on the board of NFADB, about advocacy and then a panel that included Vivecca Hartman, Wanda Schellenberg, and Suzanne Chen joining Melanie, Jacqueline, and Edgenie Bellah.  In a Zoom feat of virtual interaction, families moved into breakout rooms to share about issues and information on deafblind education and advocacy in their countries.  The day was capped off with the Mary O’Donnell Social hosted by NFADB (Diana Griffen, Vice President and Donia Shirley-Douglas, Board Member); Family Partners for the DeafBlind of Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands Board (Katrina Michel, Doris Tellado, Jesefina Muro, Ana Browne); and Florida and Virgin Island DB collaborative (Pam Kissoondyal, Family Engagement Coordinator).

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March 4, 2021 - Dr. Paul Hart Speaks on Getting in the Zone

Dr. Paul Hart

The presentation started with Paul telling us about Kylie, the dolphin, having been befriended by some porpoises after being left behind by his pod. A university student studied what happened between Kylie and his porpoise friends. Their vocalizations, both during interactions and when alone, were recorded. Then, Kylie’s and the porpoises’ echolocation clicks were extracted and analyzed. The study suggested that Kylie might have changed its acoustic repertoire as a result of the interaction with the porpoises.

What does this study tell us about exploring the hidden exceptional nature of each and everyone of us? Perhaps there is a lesson for us, especially in our day-to-day interactions with children who are deafblind.

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March 3, 2021 - Dr. Jude Nicholas Speaks on Tactile-Bodily Working Memory

Jude Nicholas

Deanna Peterson and Kate Hurst share notes on the presentation.

Tactile working memory involves the bodily system and the sense of touch.

“Through touch, people can learn, communicate and connect with the world.”

Working memory allows us to hold information in mind without losing track of what we are doing – the brain’s sticky notes of what is happening in the moment.

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March 2, 2021 - Dr. Judy Cameron Speaks on the Impact of Stress on the Developing Brain

 Today begins day 2 of the Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education. What follows are notes from Kate Hurst and are not quotes from the presenter.

During this year of COVID and various lockdowns and restrictions, we have all experienced stress. Some of us have only had mild disruption of our lives while others have experienced extreme hardships and loss. We all face stress, but good things can come out of a stressful situation. In the development of the brain, learning resiliency can offset the stresses that come our way. How do we help children who are deafblind learn resiliency?

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Judy Cameron The Impact of Stress on Brain Development

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.