Professional Development

Winter Seminar 2024

Foundational Knowledge in Deafblindness with Dr. Susan Bruce 

Dr. Susan Bruce’s prolific career has focused on how students with multiple disabilities-particularly those who are congenitally deafblind develop communication and language. Her action, descriptive, and intervention research has spanned assessment, communication intervention, literacy, rare syndromes, action research, and teacher preparation. 

Seminar Overview 

In order to help students learn, teachers and related service personnel should support students to build their knowledge by integrating new skills and concepts into their experiences and understanding.  The fields of neuroscience, psychology, and education have demonstrated that information becomes a long-term memory after ample opportunity to practice using the information in expected as well as new situations. In this two-day seminar, Foundational Knowledge in Deafblindness, participants will learn strategies that emphasize the importance of consistent and deliberate teaching for deafblind learners. For those who have had prior experience with the content, this seminar is an opportunity to review and apply your knowledge.


  • Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions, a series of hierarchical strategies with foundational knowledge at its base. 
  • Sessions will NOT be recorded. 
  • Materials, including the PowerPoints, will be shared with participants. 
  • These materials are only for registered participants and should not be shared, edited, or copied.

Certificates of Completion will be provided to participants who attend the two-day seminar in its entirety and complete a brief survey.

Session 1

February 2

Facilitator: Susan Bruce 10:00 am to 3:00 pm EDT

Friday, February 2nd, 2024 

10:00 -12:00 PM EST  Developing Individual Holistic Communication Profiles on Learners who are Deafblind

This topic will support you in developing a Holistic Communication Profile (Bruce, 2010, 2021) for a learner who is deafblind. This profile can be used to assess prelinguistic to early linguistic communicators. It addresses form (mode), function, content, context, and pivotal milestones related to communication achievements. You can modify the structure of the profile for learners of any age. Resources will be provided. *Additional consultation is provided to teams who commit to completing the assessment. 

1:00-3:00 PM EST   Self-Determination in Prelinguistic to Early Linguistic Communicators who are Deafblind

This topic will address the 8 Components of Self-Determination, with emphasis on Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Authentic Choice-Making, Self-Advocacy, Self-Efficacy

Session 2

February 9

Facilitator: Susan Bruce

Friday, February 9th, 2024 

9:30-12:00 PM EST Classic Literacy Lessons for the Classroom and Home

Story Boxes, Experience Books, and Shared Reading: This seminar topic will address how to create and implement story boxes and experience books. Effective strategies for shared reading of both personalized and commercially produced books will be shared.

Schedules/Calendar Systems and Choice-Making:
Schedules and calendar systems are important contexts for building conversational skills about topics related to daily life. Participants in this session will learn how to develop different types of schedules and how to implement them well.

1:00-3:30 PM EST Case Study Conversations with Dr. Susan Bruce – an opportunity to present your student, and gain helpful insights about next steps and new directions to support learning and growth.

Paraprofessional/Intervener Training Program

Paraprofessionals working with children and youth with combined vision and hearing impairment (deafblindness) need specialized training in order to support instruction and learning. The Paraprofessional/Intervener Training will provide personnel with foundational knowledge in working with this unique population, including a final para/intervener certificate. 

What is an Intervener? An intervener is a person who works consistently one-to-one with an individual who is deafblind to help them gather information, develop and use communication skills, and establish relationships. 

Target Audience: 

*Note – This training program is for individuals working directly with a deafblind student(s) in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont.  

  • Paraprofessional
  • Ed Tech
  • Teacher Assistant/Classroom Aide
  • 1:1 Personnel (i.e., parent, nursing, interpreter, home health aide, respite provider, babysitter/nanny) 

Modules are hosted by a Facilitator and participants will be provided support and feedback during engagement in each module. The modules can be completed at a time most convenient for you and at your own pace.

Fall Cohort

Paraprofessional/Intervener Training Program

Sign up to join our Fall Trainings Cohort!

The kickoff meeting will take place on

October 26,
4:00 – 5:00 PM

Session will be recorded to shared with those who are unable to attend.

NEC Transition For Success Initiative – Virtual Webinar Series

Transition planning for young deafblind adults requires an organized team approach, involving the student, family, and team. NEC’s Transition Team for Success Initiative offers a virtual webinar series for families, professionals, and agencies to address transition planning.

*Additional coaching is available to teams who commit to completing Transition Action Plans. 

Targeted Outcomes

  • Person-centered planning incorporated in the student’s educational program  
  • Family engagement supported throughout planning
  • Identification of supports and services for Deafblind students, provided by state and national agencies, including Pre Ets opportunities
  • Knowledge of assessment, program development, and implementation strategies 
  • To learn more or inquire about the team process, please contact  [email protected] 
  • Dates and topic areas will be added as they become available.

Family Events and Resources

A variety of virtual and in-person networking for the families of children registered with NEC. Learn about various topics and connect with other parents.

NEC Storytime Series

You’re invited to join family story time, a family-only online space for story time and crafts! Each story time will feature 45 minutes of story and songs, followed by a 15-minute craft session.

Storytime is FREE and you will receive a box with all of the needed craft supplies. The program will be recorded and can be viewed at a different time once you are registered with the group.

Location: Virtual Zoom meeting

Family Connections

Mindfulness & Parenting Tips

We offer opportunities for our families to engage in fun community events and meet other families who have a child who is deafblind.  

Date: TBD

Family Connections

Estate Planning & Advocacy

We offer opportunities for our families to engage in fun community events and meet other families who have a child who is deafblind.  

Date: March 23, 2024 Time: 10:00 to 12:00 pm EST

*Registration Closed