Sunday Schedule

Sunday, April 15

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Registration - Pool Foyer

1:00 PM Welcome and Conference Opening

Welcome: Marianne Riggio, Network Chair

Conference Opening:

Dave Power, President and CEO, Perkins School for the Blind

Gill Morbey, President, Deafblind International

Jo Ann McCann, Project Office, U.S. Department of Education, OSERS

Clara Berg, President, National Family Association for Deaf-Blind

And an International Welcome

Special Tribute to Dr. Jan van Dijk

Introduction of Keynote: Michael Delaney, Executive Director, Perkins International

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Anthony Lake, Past Executive Director, UNICEF

It’s About Ability: From Inspiration to “Of Course”

3:00 - 3:45 PM Workshops

S1.1 Teaching Concepts to Children Using the “BEST” Elements of Dance

with Kristen Paul, Catherine Nelson, Paige Furbush, Cathy Cartwright, Brook Barnhill

Room: Osterville A

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the “BEST” elements of dance. These include Body (body parts, balance, and inner self); Energy (adult-led flow, child-led flow, balanced turn taking, biobehavioral states, self-regulation, and motivation); Space (place, size, inward and outward focus, orientation and mobility); and Time (rhythm, anticipation, patterns and timing) as a context for teaching academic, adaptive, and social skills during creative dance lessons to students with sensory impairment. At the end of the presentation, participants will incorporate the BEST elements into an interactive dance lesson for students who are deafblind. Download Teaching Concepts to Children Using the “BEST” Elements of Dance materials »

S1.2 Grupo Brazil in Partnership with Universities for Dissemination of Information, Research and Studies in the Areas of Deafblindness and Multiple Sensory Disabilities

with Karina Maldonado, Shirley Maia, Vula Ikonomidis

Room: Osterville B

This presentation will discuss the various ways in which partnerships with public and private universities from different regions of Brazil are helping to disseminate information and consolidate research teams and study groups toward a common goal. Key results from research will be discussed, including the fact that today there are 151 students with deafblindness studying in higher education institutions.

S1.3 Oh the Places You’ll Go…After High School: Deaf-Blind Young Adults in Transition

with Beth Jordan, Marilyn Trader

Room: Centerville A

This presentation will describe the summer programs available to young adults at the Helen Keller National Center. Transition institutes for young adults who are deafblind can offer invaluable mentoring opportunities and interactive social settings. With the passage of recent legislation in the United States, there’s never been a better time to be a young adult who is also interested in college and work after high school. Let’s generate some excitement! Download Oh the Places You’ll Go…After High School materials »

S1.4 Implementing the Tri-Focus Framework Strategies for Developing Effective Communication Programming for Learners with Deafblindness

with Susan Bashinski, Susan Bruce

Room: Centerville B

This presentation will demonstrate how the Tri-Focus Framework strategies are relevant to communication programming for individuals who are deafblind. The three primary components of the Tri-Focus Framework are the individual, the communication partner and the environment. Discussions will focus on ways that interprofessional team members can best incorporate these strategies with children and young adults who are deafblind, as well as ways in which each can be implemented, realistically, in the student's daily learning environments. Download materials for Implementing the Tri-Focus Framework Strategies for Developing Effective Communication Programming for Learners with Deafblindness >>

S1.5 How We All Learn: The Brain, The Body and Communication

with Mark Campano

Room: Orleans A

This presentation looks at typical aspects of learning, sensory systems impact on learning, basic sociological and psychological developmental aspects of self, and then how those systems and experiences apply to learning for children and students with low incidence and high needs. Communication is the basis of all interactions, especially those focused on learning. How We All Learn looks at understanding how the student learns so that you can access identified best practices in a way that’s meaningful and functional to the student. Content will be presented through interactive formats of lecture, simulations, video examples and practice. Download How We All Learn: The Brain, The Body and Communication materials »

S1.6 Communication Equipment Used by People who are Deafblind

with Jerry Berrier and Scott Davert

Room: Orleans B

This presentation is an overview of the National Deaf-blind Equipment Distribution Program, iCanConnect. Positive outcomes and challenges will be discussed and a showcase of current adaptive equipment used to communicate via the internet, cellular network and landline network will take place.

S1.7 Student-Centered AAC for Learners with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI): Assessment, Design and Implementation

with Christopher Russell

Room: Barnstable I

To enhance the professional development of CVI, we need to integrate the unique adaptations and strategies that can serve to support the implementation of student-centered, accessible forms of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), both aided and unaided forms, for students with CVI. This session will aim to address holistic communication intervention for children and youth with CVI and additional challenges, including deafblindness. Download Student-Centered AAC for Learners with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) materials »

S1.8 Measuring the Longitudinal Growth of Learners who are Deafblind

with Kristi Probst

Room: Barnstable II

The ability to adequately track student growth is key when IEP teams are making educational decisions. The purpose of this study, as we’ll learn in this discussion, was to explore the differences in the number, type and intensity of educational service provision and to track the longitudinal communication growth of students who are deafblind. We’ll also examine the implications and possible future research that can follow this study. Download Measuring the Longitudinal Growth of Learners who are Deafblind »

S1.9 Open Your Eyes: Reflections of the Experience of a Person with Acquired Deafblindness

with Guido Fernandez Cornide  

Room: Grand I

In this presentation, Guido Fernandez Cornide, a 35-year-old man who woke up deafblind one day due to meningitis, will tell his unique story. Though he nearly died that day, Guido decided to use this life-changing circumstance to set out on a journey of self-reflection and personal growth. It has changed his life forever. As an extension of his memoir, Open The Eyes, Guido’s presentation will address topics most relevant to the deafblind community, their families and professionals working with this population.

S1.10 Developing and Supporting Legislation to Recognize Interveners at the State Level

with Michelle Clyne

Room: Barnstable III

In 2013, awareness of the purpose and role of interveners for the deafblind population across the state of Illinois was low, as measured by a survey of state special education coordinators. When the Illinois State Deafblind Project began a new cycle in October 2013, one of the main goals was to elicit State Education Agency approval of new language that would employ deafblind interveners as a related service. This presentation will share the various steps that were taken to increase awareness and necessity of deafblind interveners in the state of Illinois as well as the benefits that have emerged as a result. Download materials for Developing and Supporting Legislation to Recognize Interveners at the State Level >>

S1.11 The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness

with Megan Cote, Emma Nelson, Sherri Nelson, Carol Darrah, Danna Conn

Room: Grand II

In April 2017, the National Center on Deaf-Blindness launched a product, “The Sooner the Better: A Framework for Training Early Intervention Practitioners on Deaf-Blindness.” This framework offers state deafblind projects a collection of online resources that can be used for customized training and technical assistance to early intervention providers, project staff, and families. This session will discuss the components of the framework and explain how these materials can be customized to meet individual and system-wide training needs for early intervention. Download The Sooner the Better materials »

4:00 - 4:45 PM Workshops

S2.1 ADAMLS (Assessment of Deafblind Access to Manual Language) Supports Families, Rehabilitation Workers and Educators in the Identification of Necessary Strategies to Support Access to Sign and Fingerspelling for Individuals with Deafblindness

with Robbie Blaha

Room: Osterville A

Sign and fingerspelling are visual in nature. As accessing visual information is an ongoing challenge for individuals with deafblindness, it is important to assess and identify the necessary strategies and accommodations that these individuals can utilize as they learn to comprehend manual communication. ADAMLS was developed to guide educators, rehabilitation workers and families in addressing this need. This presentation will address the concepts behind and applications of this tool. Download materials for ADAMLS (Assessment of Deafblind Access to Manual Language) Supports Families, Rehabilitation Workers and Educators in the Identification of Necessary Strategies to Support Access to Sign and Fingerspelling for Individuals with Deafblindness

S2.2 Family Engagement and Leadership: Partnering Together in an Ever-Changing World

with Clara Berg, Edgenie Bellah

Room: Osterville B

During this presentation, we will examine the multi-faceted aspects of family engagement and leadership, discussing both their similarities and differences. Through a collaborative discussion, we’ll identify the many opportunities that exist for family engagement and leadership at the individual, local, regional, and global level. We’ll also share ideas about the benefits of partnering with self-advocates and professionals, as they may help promote sustainable lifestyle choices that remain steadfast regardless of changes in the system. Download material for Family Engagement and Leadership: Partnering Together in an Ever-Changing World >>

S2.3 Challenging Behaviors: Developing Strategies for Access to Quality Education

with Karina Medina

Room: Centerville A

Children with disabilities and challenging behavioral patterns may find themselves excluded from the educational services they deserve if teachers do not have the tools, resources or training to meet their needs. To confront this issue, an action plan will be presented to the authorities of the Ministry of Education of the Córdoba Province, specifically the General Directive of Private Education Institutes, Special Mode. The plan proposes to deliver training sessions to integrate, in a coordinated manner, two main themes that can help provide meaningful tools to managers, teachers and educational teams. One theme focuses on the development and preparation of behavior plans, while the other addresses physical intervention techniques to implement when behavioral incidents occur. This presentation aims to share the development of the action plan, the content of the training and the impact on institutions and actors.

S2.4 Cognition, Communication, Social Relationships and Engineered Environments: Conscious Teaching Practices and Processes for Deafblind Learners

with Susan DeCaluwe

Room:Centerville B

Piaget’s theory of human intelligence believes that “the principal goal of education is to create learners who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating.” Van Dijk’s approach, meanwhile, encourages us “to live alongside the deafblind learner so that we can experience with him, so we can better understand his meanings, values and choices.” And Nielsen’s Active Learning Theory believes that “through active exploration and examination, the child achieves skills to use in interactions with others, fulfills her needs, and gradually lets her interact with instructions and education, and be as independent as possible.” Together these giants identified and delineated the steps necessary to integrate cognition, communication, social relationships and active learning environments to enrich the lives of the deafblind learners. This presentation will examine the great impact that each concept has on our teaching processes.

S2.5 Brain-Based Visual Impairment – So Many Children! So Many Teachers! Meeting the Training Need in Multiple Formats

with Christine Roman Lanzky, Mary C. Zatta, Ellen Mazel

Room: Grand I

Teachers of students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists are challenged by the diversity of their caseloads and the student populations they serve. Teacher training programs struggle to provide their students with the breadth of knowledge needed to serve the wide-ranging abilities of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Participants in this session will learn about the array of training models developed to meet the wide-ranging needs and learning styles of teachers and related service personnel through onsite, blended (hybrid) and online training courses. This presentation will also provide participants with information related to the various credentials that can be earned to substantiate their expertise in these areas.  

S2.6 Effective Positioning Interventions to Facilitate Fine Motor Skills in Children with CHARGE Syndrome and/or Deafblindness

with Sarah Maust, Samantha Kublin

Room: Barnstable I

This presentation will provide families and service providers with researched evidence for adaptive positions that can best support and promote fine motor development for children with CHARGE syndrome. The need for increased proprioceptive sensory input for children with CHARGE syndrome has been well documented by deafblind educational specialist, David Brown. In learning and understanding this strong evidence in favor of positioning interventions and increasing proprioceptive input, families and providers can promote fine motor skills. The increase in fine motor skills can assist children with CHARGE syndrome and/or deafblindness to achieve optimal participation in school, self-care skills and play. Participants in this session will receive a brief overview of the three positions used in the research study and the impact each had on the development of fine motor skills. Results from the research will be presented and general recommendations and accommodations to the sitting environment of the child will be shared. Information will be reinforced through the use of case studies and visual examples of students who are deafblind.  

S2.7 DeafBlind Pocket Communicator: No-Tech Innovation Using 3-D Printing

with Amy Parker, Susan Sullivan

Room: Barnstable II

For many deafblind people, having a simple, low-tech tool is beneficial when traveling in the community or interacting with members of the public. This presentation will explain the tool called the DeafBlind Pocket Communicator, which is a slim, pocket-sized, no-tech device which displays the braille alphabet embossed beneath the corresponding raised print letters, numbers and symbols. This is a conversation tool for the deafblind with those who cannot fingerspell, and it can be used for writing limited braille messages and teaching the beginnings of braille. Prototypes on a 3-D printer were created and further innovation is possible. Download materials for Deafblind Pocket Communicator: No-Tech Innovation Using 3-D Printing »

S2.8 Building a National Collaborative Network for Deaf-Blind Services

with Sam Morgan, Gail Leslie

Room: Barnstable III

In the United States, the provision of educational services for children who are deaf-blind depends on a nationally funded technical assistance model. Students with complex needs are often served in local schools where systemic barriers can make cohesive quality programming even more challenging. This presentation will offer ideas on how to take a cooperative approach to build and sustain a professional community that can best serve children and youth who are deafblind. The discussion will cover the ways to build consensus and a common vision, the use of the construct of community of practice, the methods for working together in the creation of products and materials, and the various ways of supporting and improving shared work.Download materials for Building a National Collaborative Network for Deaf-Blind Services >>

S2.9 Educational Practice for People Who Are Deaf or Have Multiple Disabilities

with Emelia Hernandez Payan, Marta Elena Ramirez

Room: Orleans A

This presentation shows the collaboration between civil society organizations (Perkins partners) and the Government of Mexico in the training of teachers in charge of students with multiple disabilities and deafblindness. The results of quantitative research on the educational practice of teachers working with this population at public Special Education schools in the State of Yucatan, Mexico during 2014-2015 will be shared. It exposes the knowledge of the teachers through nine indicators based in theoretical references for teaching, and the training needs on the use of compensatory methodologies, and the implementation of strategies. The conclusions include  recommendations for the governments to update training for professionals in special education.

S2.10 Deafblind Self-Advocacy: Realizing Your Rights

with Chris Woodfill

Room: Orleans B

In exercising the right to live, breath and function in this society, we are also granted the right to choose our own path toward a future. Maybe that future includes going to college, finding and sustaining a career or starting a family. As unique individuals, we must all learn to be our own best advocate, designing the future that we desire, and this presentation will address how that can be done. While, historically, the deafblind community has encountered roadblocks along this path toward higher education and career development, we can take what the past taught us and learn from it as we move forward toward a future with brighter possibilities. This presentation aims to demonstrate how we can learn from past mistakes, and how that process can foster growth and prosperity in both career and lifestyle.

S2.11 UDL: At the Core of Implementing a Responsible and Sustainable Inclusive Process

with Maria Bove

Room: Grand II

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a structure that supports all students, including those students with significant disabilities and deafblindness, in the general classroom setting. UDL also emphasizes cultural competence as an equalizer for social justice. This presentation will focus on the most successful structures found in cooperative learning and co-teaching. We will examine how these approaches come to life through partner learning, functional learning styles and in the educators' management, communication and teaching styles shifting from a disability to an ability paradigm.

S2.12 Strategies for Supporting Learners with Deafblindness and Complex Communication Needs: Nonsymbolic Signal Dictionaries and Communication Portfolios

with Susan Bashinski, Carol Darrah

Room: Cape Cod

In this session, presenters will demonstrate how teams can collaboratively create a communication portfolio (i.e., a notebook with photos and descriptions that depict a learner’s unique communication forms) and use these tools to support a learner’s communication and participation methods. Presenters will also introduce intervention tools – tools which will help others better understand and more appropriately respond to a learner’s communication efforts. These practices will aid in promoting consistent communicative interactions throughout a learner’s day.

6:00 - 8:00 PM Opening Reception

Room: Bass River; Hyannis East-West

Co-sponsored by Perkins International and National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB)