About Sound Travels
Sound Travels is a guidance document designed to help a team address the needs of a student who is deafblind in the area of orientation and mobility. It came about through the collaboration of several members of the Texas Deafblind Project and an audiologist as they tried to develop assessment guidelines to assist the team in fitting a hearing aid for a student who is deafblind. Their discussion and collaboration identified some specific challenges that must be met by the team to insure appropriate amplification and instruction is in place for a student who is deafblind.
Students who are deafblind have needs that are different from a person who is deaf or hard of hearing when it comes to fitting a hearing aid or assistive listening device. This is especially true when considering the students needs related to Orientation and Mobility. Students who are blind or visually impaired rely on their hearing for localizing sound, identifying sound, and using sound as a way to orient to their surroundings. Hearing aids, if not configured for these requirements, can impede rather than support the development of orientation and mobility skills and reduce safety for the student.
We would like to thank all of the individuals who helped to develop and review these materials.
Orientation & Mobility Menu
- Environmental Sounds Considerations for the Audiologist and O&M
- Collaboration Tool for Environmental Sounds
- Developing Auditory Skills
- Delineation of Roles Related to Safe and Independent Travel for the Student who Is Deafblind
- Tip Sheet for Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Sample Letter to the Audiologist
A bit about this project’s history
In 2014, Ruth Ann Marsh, COMS and then O&M Consultant with TSBVI Outreach Programs, presented a webinar on O&M and Assistive Listening Devices with Audiologist Lisa Sutherland. Their discussion triggered a number of conversations with staff on the Texas Deafblind Project causing them to rethink their advise to teams about fitting hearing aids on a child who is deafblind.
Ruth Ann retired and Chris Tabb, COMS and current O&M Consultant for the project, came onboard. He and Lisa picked up the topic and began to develop the material that has evolved into Sound Travels.
This information is important for all team members, but most especially the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. Why? Because it is that team member who is most likely to be involved in the process of determining amplification for the student. We hope this information helps guide the team in providing better access to environmental information that is so necessary to safe travel for the student who is deafblind. As Lisa Sutherland so eloquently put it, “Noise is information for the child who is deafblind.”
Thanks to our colleagues who helped with this project!
Lisa Sutherland, M.S./ CCC-A , Audibility PLLC, Austin, TX
Chris Tabb, COMS/Orientation and Mobility Consultant, Outreach Programs, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Edgenie Bellah, COMS / Family Engagement Coordinator, Texas Deafblind Project, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Robbie Blaha, M.ED.,/TVI/TDHH/ Education Consultant, Texas Deafblind Project, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Dr. Gene Bourquin, COMS, Deafblind Consultant, Helen Keller National Center, New York, NY
Jay Gense, COMS, Surprise, AZ
Adam Graves, TVI / Education Consultant, Texas Deafblind Project, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Kate Moss Hurst, TDHH / TSBVI Outreach Consultant, Austin, TX
Ruth Ann Marsh, COMS, Minneapolis, MN
Susie Tiggs, ED S / Texas Sensory Support Network Coordinator, Deaf and Hard of Hearing State Leadership Project, ESC Region 11, Ft. Worth, TX
Elaine Young, M.E.D./Program Manager: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, ESC Region 13, Austin, TX